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Owning a home is part of the American dream. People often imagine getting married, buying a house and raising a family in it.  It is also usually the single most expensive asset families own.  Thus, it is no surprise that when spouses separate, the home is usually at the center of divorce disputes. 

Whether or not a spouse keeps the home or the home is listed for sale involves a variety of considerations of both a personal and financial nature.

Can you afford to keep it?

No matter how badly you want to keep a house, it may be financially impossible to do so. In most cases, you will need to compensate your ex for his or her share of the home and refinance the mortgage to remove your spouse’s name. In some cases, you may not qualify to finance the mortgage to your name alone. 

Also consider the cost of maintaining the home. Without the help of your spouse, will you be able to handle the taxes on the home and the insurance? What about the utility bills and the repairs or maintenance it may need? If it would be a significant financial stretch to afford all this, keeping the home could be a mistake.

Is keeping the home really what you want and need?

People often want to stay in a home because they cannot imagine living elsewhere and believe that staying in the home is best for their children. However, this is not always the case.

It is important to consider whether your needs could be met by another home. Additionally, some spouses discover that the home is more important to them than it is their children and that their children are more concerned with remaining in their school district with their friends.

Deciding what to do with a marital home in a Pennsylvania divorce is a complex financial and emotional decision. Before you make this decision, you should consult financial and legal professionals to ensure you make an informed decision.