A lot of people believe that they want to keep their home after a divorce. Whether or not keeping it is worth it to you will depend on if you have the budget and means to keep up with the property.
Before you decide if it’s worth it to keep the home, you need to think about a few things, including use and possession laws in Maryland.
Think about the cost of your home
First, how much does it cost? Do you need to buy out your spouse’s share by giving up other assets or by giving them cash? That might make a difference in your decision to keep the home.
To determine how much the home is worth is tricky, too. You may both want to have a different person come out to assess the property and give it a value. Some people then take the average as the value of the home. Others take the highest value as the property’s value. You’ll need to decide with your spouse which valuation you’ll accept.
Think about how you’ll pay for the property
Sometimes, there are budget constraints that make owning the property impossible. For example, if the mortgage is $900 a month but you need to stay on a housing budget of $700, how will you make up that difference? Be realistic to decide if keeping the home is worth it or if you’d be better off selling the property for more liquid cash. In some cases, it may be worth allowing your spouse to buy you out of the property, especially if that would leave you in a positive financial situation.
The good news is that Maryland has equitable distribution laws. This means that you may not be on the hook for paying for much of anything if you want the house but are the spouse who will receive more in the split. For instance, if you’re doing a 70-30 split of your assets, the home may fall into the amount you should receive.
Your attorney can talk to you about how to keep your family home and if it’s a good idea based on your specific circumstances.
Who has custody?
An important consideration regarding the use of the family home following divorce has to do with child custody. Per Maryland’s use and possession of the family home law, the courts may order that one parent has exclusive access of the family home, specifically the parent who lives with any minor children. This can make the transition easier on children, allowing them to stay in their familiar home.
This may apply for a certain period of time, during the divorce process, for example. And the spouse not living in the home may be required to pay mortgage costs, for example.
As in all matters involving children, Maryland courts will consider what is in the best interests of the child or children involved.