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Chicago Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Divorcing when You Own a Home (and Still Owe Payments) – Tips for Navigating Owning a Home while Splitting Up

Divorcing when You Own a Home (and Still Owe Payments) – Tips for Navigating Owning a Home while Splitting Up


According to a Yahoo!Finance article that came out, a whopping 59% of people who have gone through a divorce report that they went into debt after their divorce. Furthermore, of those who incurred debt after divorce proceedings, 41% reported that they racked up more than $5,000 in debt. One of the factors that divorcees find themselves in debt after a divorce, according to the experts, is homeownership. In fact, Regina McCann Hess, a certified divorce financial analyst notes, “Right now, the hardest part about the divorce agreement is whether or not they can afford the house, or even if they can’t afford the house, can they afford a different house…It’s become a domino problem, where even if they can’t afford the house they’re living in, they can’t afford to buy another house, and then rents have skyrocketed, so it’s a real tough situation.” So how should individuals who are going through the divorce process handle issues of the home? Fortunately, we have a few tips from the experts.

#1. Identify the “Why” in Deciding Where to Live

According to the Yahoo! article and McCann Hess, divorcing individuals who own homes need to first figure out their motivations and reasons for deciding where to live. “Before we get into the money part,” says McCann Hess, “one thing I do have a conversation with people about, especially women, is whether it’s an emotional decision or a financial decision to stay in the home.” While, certainly, emotions do play a role in where a person ultimately decides to live, McCann Hess advises that the numbers also have to work out. Therefore, it is a balance between finances and emotion, with a view to making a lasting financial decision.

#2. Get the Home Inspected before Making Decisions

At the outset, McCann Hess explains, it is important that a divorcing individual figure out if they really can afford the home by getting an inspection of the home. Divorcing individuals may wonder why McCann Hess does not recommend an appraisal, but the reasoning has to do more with total anticipated expenses versus value, and not just the top line number. Issues that come up in an inspection – for example, repairs that could cost tens of thousands of dollars – may influence the decisions regarding a home in the divorce process.

#3. Weigh the Options

After determining what the cost of the home actually is, divorcing individuals should weigh the options realistically to determine whether continuing to own the home really makes sense. Of course, the right choice will vary by individuals, and there is no “one size fits all” approach. Indeed, if you are in the Chicago area and you need assistance weighing the options and figuring out what is best in your unique case, it is best to speak with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer about your rights and options.

The experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Aroux, LLC, are here to help Chicago individuals with the ins-and-outs of their divorces. Contact the experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Aroux, LLC and speak to an experienced Chicago lawyer about your rights and options today.



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