Who gets the house can be one of the most contested questions in a divorce. Some spouses may fight bitterly over who will get awarded the house in the divorce. However, before making a decision based on emotions about the house or based on wanting to “win” in the divorce, you should carefully evaluate whether keeping the house is truly in your best interest.
One consideration is whether or not you can truly afford the house. If you are awarded the house in the divorce, you will most likely be responsible for making the mortgage payment, paying for maintenance, paying for utilities, taxes etc. As a practical matter, you may consider taking the time to create a “post-divorce” budget with your income and expenses post-divorce to see if keeping the marital home is in your budget. If you will be receiving child support or alimony, you would of course, include that in your calculations. In addition, if there is any equity in the home, meaning the fair market value of the home is greater than the mortgage(s) payoff balance, you may be required to pay your ex their marital portion of the equity as part of the division of assets. If you do not have the cash to pay off your ex, you may be able to pull the cash from the equity in the home through a refinance or home equity line of credit.
Also as part of your consideration of whether you desire to keep the marital home, you will want to take into consideration whose name is on the mortgage. If your name is on the mortgage, you may believe that if your spouse is receiving the home, you are no longer responsible for the mortgage or vice versa. That’s not true – if your name is on the mortgage, you are still legally responsible for the debt to the lender until either it’s paid off or your name is removed from the mortgage. The fact that you are still on the mortgage can make it tough to get another home loan in the future and places your credit score at jeopardy of being negatively impacted if your ex does not make timely mortgage payments. If both spouses’ names are on the mortgage, but one spouse will be keeping the house post-divorce, that spouse would need to refinance the mortgage to remove the other spouse’s name from the mortgage.
There are a number of different legal options in regards to the marital property. Call Shalamar Parham, Atlanta Divorce Attorney, at 678-439-1482 for a consultation. She can work with you to determine what your best course of action is.
Shalamar J. Parham is a divorce and child custody attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a 2014-2019 SuperLawyers Georgia Rising Star honoree. She advocates for her clients with the goal to get them a final resolution that brings them more peace and a new, fresh start at the conclusion of their matter.
Parham Law Firm
400 Galleria Pkwy, Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30339