Is Holding On To My Marital House Really Worth It?

by Donna Ranieri – Divorce Lending Specialist


Many of my clients are divorcing spouses, and I have often found one of their biggest concerns is having to move out of their home. I really wonder at times why some people fight so hard to keep their marital home. Sometimes I worry that their motive to keep it comes from wanting to “win” the divorce or maybe they are just afraid of change.

My intent is to qualify my clients for their mortgage and try to give them what they want. But is what they want really what they need? I usually see a newly-single husband or wife barely able to afford the mortgage. It’s my job to get them to see the whole picture.
Think of the utility bills that you pay on a monthly basis. When you are a couple, you and your spouse both share in the monthly expenses, such as-cable, electric, gas, water and sewer bills. You probably also have other expenses like healthcare, life insurance and sporting activity expenses for the children. Now you will be paying these bills on your own, and when you go to qualify for a mortgage, your debt to income ratio will not account for them.

You have to ask yourself, are you really ready to pay for all this on your own? Can you still afford your mortgage after your other expenses? If anything breaks in your home, will you have the funds to fix it?

Money aside, holding on to the marital home also means holding on to all the memories that you shared with your spouse as a couple-both good and bad. Every room will have its own story to tell. If you should meet someone new and want to build a serious relationship with them, they may not feel comfortable living in your ex’s house. I have clients come to me to refinance the marital home into their individual name and about one or two years later they come back because they found someone new who does not want to live in “their” house. Ultimately, the sentimental reasons you want to preserve your home will fade, and you will be left with nothing but a financial and emotional burden.

Unless the marital home was in your family for generations, I urge you to consider selling it and starting fresh. You might have to rent for a bit until everything is settled, but you will feel so much better in the long run.

It is time to make new memories for you and your children in a home you can call your own.

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