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When to keep or give up the family home

One of the greatest financial achievements a couple may make together is purchasing a home. If this was just a starter home, neither party may feel inclined to keep it. If it was the dream home, then one or both parties may have a tough time giving it up. When there are children involved, the primary caretaker may prefer to stay in the home with them to reduce the adjustments they need to make.

While keeping the home often makes sense from an emotional standpoint, it does not always make sound financial sense. In fact, some women sell themselves short by holding on to the family home in place of more liquid investments.

Consider this before making a decision

Forbes recommends that divorcing spouses ask themselves the following questions before deciding whether to keep the home:

  • The actual or opportunity cost of buying out the spouse
  • The size of the mortgage to complete the buyout
  • Financial qualification for a mortgage of that size
  • Fluctuations in the interest rate based on market rates and spouse eligibility
  • The amount of equity in the home

Some parents get creative about keeping the home

Keeping the house does not always need to be a permanent affair, especially when the children are almost grown. In a few years, the couple can still sell and split the proceeds. It also means a buyout may not be necessary. In fact, U.S. News reports that some couples resort to nesting. This means that instead of moving the children from home to home to share custody, the children remain in one home and the parents move back and forth. However, this rarely works as a long-term strategy.

Because of this, women should consider downsizing more often and selling the home. While many people think of a house as a safe asset, the housing market does fluctuate. In many instances, safer investments include retirement accounts, cash and continued spousal support whenever possible.