Randi J. Vladimer, P.C.
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For many couples considering the end of their marriage in Pennsylvania, the biggest concern will be what happens to their family home. The equity you have built in your home over the course of your marriage may represent a substantial amount of your total household income.

It may also be the biggest single asset that you have. It is only natural to want a fair share of those assets. There are certain issues that you should carefully consider before developing a strategy regarding the equity in your marital home.

Can you afford the home on your own?

Qualifying for a mortgage is a complex process that involves scrutiny of everything from your credit history to your income. Although you and your spouse may have easily been able to pay the mortgage on the property, you may not make enough on your own to qualify for the mortgage. When you go to refinance the house, you may not be able to be the one who assumes ownership of it.

Looking at your personal credit score and income, as well as work history, will give you an idea of whether or not you can qualify for a mortgage on your own. Although child support and spousal support can help you qualify, you should look at whether maintaining the same house is sustainable.

Do you or your children have an emotional attachment to the home?

If you have lived in the same house for the entirety of your marriage and your children have lived there their entire life, you may have deep emotional attachments to the home. Having the children move into a new space could be far more stressful than attempting to maintain the marital home.

However, if you have only been living in this home for a year or two, if your family moved recently or if there are negative memories associated with living at the house, it may be in everyone's best interest if you decide to sell the property and move somewhere new.

Do you have enough equity to make keeping the home worthwhile?

If you recently purchased a home or if you refinance and use some of the equity for other purchases, you may have very little accumulated equity in the home. Instead of attempting to assume and pay off a 30-year mortgage, choosing to sell the home as part of the divorce proceedings and split whatever equity you have with your spouse may be the best way to handle the process.

Talking with your attorney about the likely outcome of the division of assets in your case can help you define a workable strategy regarding the house and your divorce.

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