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Should You Try to Keep the Marital Residence in Divorce: A Nine-Point Checklist

A potential hot point in divorce proceedings can be the disposition of the marital residence. If you are in the midst of a divorce case (or heading to divorce court in the not too distant future), you may have at least some desire to keep the marital home for yourself at the conclusion of marriage dissolution proceedings. With that in mind, there is a nine-point checklist you need to consider in regard to maintaining the marital home for your own at the end of your divorce case:

  • Are there marital assets available to offset giving you possession of the residence?
  • Does your spouse have a strong desire to keep the family home?
  • Will you have primary custody?
  • Will you have funds to make monthly mortgage payments?
  • Will you have the resources to maintain the marital residence?
  • How much equity is in the residence?
  • What are the physical specifics associated with the property?
  • If the home’s location desirable for the long haul?
  • Is living in the residence something you sincerely desire?
Are There Marital Assets Available to Offset Giving You Possession of the Marital Residence?

In order for you to be granted possession of the home during a divorce case there must be other assets available to give to the other party to offset the value of the property. As a consequence, in order for you to be abled to maintain possession of the home following a divorce, assets must be set aside to your spouse to cover his or her financial interest in the property.

Does Your Spouse Have a Strong Desire to Keep the Family Home?

You will want to consider your spouse’s desires when it comes to the residence. If your spouse is committed to possessing the property and you are as well, you can be in for a protracted legal batter – and a costly one at that.

Will You Have Primary Physical Custody?

Whether you will have primary physical custody of the children plays into the idea of you maintaining the marital home. It may make sense for you to live in the marital residence as the primary custodian until the children have reached 18 years of age.

Will You Have the Funds to Make Monthly Mortgage Payments?

In thinking about keeping the home for yourself, you need to frankly consider your finances. You need to be certain that you will have the funds necessary to make future mortgage payments.

Will You Have the Resources to Maintain the Residence?

On a related note, you also need to consider whether you have the resources to maintain the residence. Resources include not only money to hire professionals but the ability to address smaller maintenance and repair matters.

How Much Equity is in the Residence?

In considering having the marital home set aside to you in a divorce, consider the value of the property. You need to be aware of what equity is available in the property.

What are the Physical Specifics Associated with the Marital Residence?

You also need to pay heed to the physical specifics of the home. You need to be sure that the residence is designed in such a way that it meets not only your needs today but what you anticipate those needs to be in the future.

Is the Home’s Location Something Desirable to You for the Long Term?

The pervasive real estate cliché is that when considering home, the important “factors” are location, location, location. Location is a crucial consideration when you are contemplating maintaining residency in the marital home after a divorce.

Is Living in the Marital Home Something You Sincerely Desire?

A final point on the checklist is a consideration of whether the marital home really is something you desire to own, possess, and reside in. In many divorce cases, a spouse wants a particular piece of property not so much for his or her own benefits but as a sort of one upmanship in regard to the other spouse. Spite, revenge, or feeling as if you are getting even with your spouse are not appropriate motivators to take possession of the marital home in divorce proceedings.

If you’ve made the decision to end your marriage, or if your spouse has initiated marriage dissolution proceedings, you are well served by scheduling a free initial consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer. Call (201) 845-7400.

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Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
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