5 Signs You Shouldn’t Fight for the House in your PA Divorce

The house is often one of the biggest points of contention in a divorce case. It can become the one sticking point that keeps couples from reaching an equitable settlement.
But keeping the house isn’t always advantageous. In fact, it’s often a really bad idea.
Here’s how to figure out whether it’s time to keep fighting, or time to let the house go.
You’ll be relying on spousal support.
Spousal support awards are great, but they’re still going to be a fraction of what you’re used to living on. You’ll be living on less even if you have child support.
You’re also relying on someone who has already let you down. If your ex gets laid off or fired those checks could stop coming.
It’s usually wiser to take the spousal support while getting some job training or taking a new job. Downsize a little, or a lot.
Remember, lifetime awards have gotten rarer, and if you end up going to court you might get the house, but far less support than you hoped for.
You’ve got big ticket problems just waiting to happen.
Old water heater? A roof that hasn’t been replaced in 18 years? A dishwasher that sounds like it’s going to die?
Repairs can add up fast. How will you tackle them on your new, lower income? You may get a lump sum of some sort from the divorce settlement, but once you’ve thrown it all into the house, it’s gone.
Even if everything in your house is brand new, experts say you should budget 1% of the house value for home every year. Divide that by 12. Can your monthly budget accomodate that amount?
Your budget includes your mortage but has no room for homeowner expenses.
Everyone remembers to budget for their mortgage. Most people don’t remember to budget for property taxes, HOA fees, homeowner’s insurance, or lawn care. And in Pennsylvania, especially, the property taxes alone can be very steep.
You could find it impossible to make ends meet.
Your children will be living with you.
This is counter-intuitive. Most people want the house because the kids will be living with them. They want to keep the kids in the place where they’ve always lived.
But things are never going to be the same.
Meanwhile, you’re going to be acting as a single parent, which most people find exhausting. Are you going to want to rake the yard, clean the gutters, and fix the sink while you’re at it?
Your divorce lawyer advises against it.
There could be a dozen individual scenarios which make fighting for the house a really bad idea. Make sure to have an in-depth discussion with your lawyer about it.
And remember. Often, selling the house and dividing the proceeds is the better part of valor for both spouses. Boiling the house down to a dollar amount makes the equitable division of assets that much easier.
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