Your home is your largest asset during your divorce, so what you decide to do with it is incredibly important. There is no “right” answer. It all depends on the specifics of your situation.
To help you get started, here are five different options that may appeal to you:
1. Keeping the home and living together
This is uncommon and it won’t work for many couples, but it’s not unheard of. In some cases, you can live together even through the divorce and afterward, especially if there’s a reason to delay selling the house. For instance, you may want to wait a few months for the value to go up so that you make more in the sale.
2. Selling the home
There may not be a “right” answer, but this is the most common solution. A lot of couples sell their house and use the money to pay off the loan. This gives you and your ex some money to split up, which you can use as down payments on individual homes.
3. Renting the house
If you want to keep the home for a time — as noted above, perhaps to wait for the market — then you may be able to rent it out. As long as the rent covers your costs, you can keep it “for free” and wait for the opportune time to sell.
However, that may mean working with your ex as a landlord or hiring a property management company.
4. Agreeing to have one person make payments
Maybe your ex knows he or she can afford the mortgage payments after the divorce, even on one income. They may ask you if they can keep the house and pay the mortgage for both of you.
A word of warning: This is risky. It only works when they keep paying. If they ever can’t afford it, with your name still on the paperwork, you could be held responsible.
5. Refinancing the house
A better way to approach keeping the house is to refinance it. If your ex wants it, for instance, he or she can refinance and buy out the existing mortgage. This cuts you out of the picture. Your spouse must qualify for that mortgage and make the payments, but you are not responsible if they fail to do so.
As you can see from these examples, you do have a lot of options. Make sure you understand all of the legal steps you need to take moving forward.