Should I fight to keep the family home in my divorce?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2021 | Family Law

This is a question that family law attorneys hear all the time. The answer to that is usually that you can battle it out to retain ownership of your home. But the sub-context is that it may not always be in your best interests to do so.

In most divorces, the two biggest assets are the family home and the retirement accounts. For those who are determined to keep the marital home, the retirement accounts (or a percentage of them) can be a trading card to use when it is time for negotiations. But first, consider the following.

Can you afford the home?

Texas is a community property state, which means all assets and debts are divided 50-50. If the home is paid for, you will have to arrange to buy your spouse’s interest in it or accept some other trade-off. If you are still paying a mortgage, you will first need to get approved as a single wage-earner for refinancing the loan solely in your name.

If you are in your 20s or 30s with young children whom you would like to grow up in this familiar environment, this might be a good war to wage. In theory, you could offer your share of the retirement accounts to your spouse in exchange for their interest in the home. After all, according to the actuarial tables, you likely still have plenty of earning years to replenish your retirement nest egg.

When should you pass on the home?

Older couples who divorce often decide to sell the house and both downsize to smaller quarters. Even if you can refinance or buy out your ex, consider the money and energy spent on the upkeep of a large and sprawling property. Yearly taxes, too, add a bundle to the annual cost of running your home.

You and your family law attorney can devise the best strategies for you to pursue the assets that will leave you well-positioned for your post-divorce life.