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Should keeping your home be your main goal during divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2023 | Family Law |

No matter what motivation makes someone contemplate going to family court, they need to carefully assess how their changing situation will affect their future opportunities. For example, divorce will mean a change in the relationship with someone’s children and their broader community. It will also mean making major adjustments to their financial circumstances.

Married couples in Alabama typically share both their marital property and debt during marriage and during divorce. Many people find that establishing specific goals prior to engaging in the divorce process helps them to secure a favorable outcome more efficiently and effectively. For example, the retention of the marital home may or may not be a smart goal when preparing for divorce in Alabama.

Both spouses probably share an interest in the home

Although there are very rare scenarios in which people co-own houses after divorce, typically only one spouse will retain possession. Some people misunderstand that and believe that one person keeps the house while the other loses out on it entirely.

Thankfully, Alabama has an equitable distribution rule. Both spouses should receive a fair share of the home’s equity. The one who does not keep the home will either receive some of its value when their spouse refinances or other marital assets with significant value, like a larger portion of a joint retirement account. Ultimately, people need to consider whether keeping the house is a practical decision.

Emotions and ability influence the best choice

Some people had a connection to their marital home long before they met their spouses. They may have bought or inherited the home from family members. These individuals may feel a strong connection to the property and a desire to retain it regardless of what happens in their marriage.

For others, the home was a new asset acquired with their spouse. The home will be full of memories of the marriage, which can be rather bittersweet. Quite a few divorced individuals realize that leaving the marital home will be an important part of moving on from the marriage.

Beyond that, there are also practical considerations to contemplate. Will someone be able to afford the mortgage on their own? Will they qualify to refinance with their current credit? Can they maintain the property without someone else’s help? Some people choose to ask for home equity instead of fighting to keep the house itself. It may be possible to secure a nest egg that can help someone to pursue their happiness after the divorce if they don’t maintain possession of the home itself.

Taking the time to evaluate one’s goals may help people make better choices before and during an Alabama divorce. When it comes to a decision related to pursuing ownership of one’s marital home, knowledge and foresight tend to equal power.