IS IT ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO KEEP THE HOUSE?
Even Mobile couples who are of modest means are likely to own a home during the course of their marriage. As a result, should these couples face divorce or legal separation, they will have to figure out how to divide the home between themselves according to Alabama family law.
Not surprisingly, people may have a lot of emotions and memories associated with their marital home and thus want to do whatever they can to keep it.
Moreover, for many couples, the house really is their most valuable investment, both because it includes a lot of their net worth and because it is an investment that is likely to grow over time.
Still, it is important for a person going through divorce or separation not to assume that they should do whatever they need to do legally, including giving up other important rights, in order to keep the house.
For one, while housing is often a good long-term investment, in the short run, houses are subject to changes in the market. As anyone who lived through the Great Recession of 2008 knows, a person can wind up upside down on a house, that is owing more than the house is worth, even if they have been keeping up on mortgage payments. A buyer’s housing market can cause that.
Perhaps more importantly, houses cost money to keep up. Even if a mortgage has been paid, there will still be taxes, insurance and necessary home repairs and improvements. The bigger and nicer the house, the more expensive these costs are likely to be.
Someone may even discover that he traded a lot of other property for the privilege of keeping the house only to have to turn around and sell it anyone since he cannot afford the upkeep.
Whether or not one should try to keep the marital residence is really a question that is specific to one’s circumstances. Thus, she should discuss the matter with her attorney.