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Is it always worth it to fight for the family home in a divorce?

Home may be where the heart is, but when a couple's relationship comes to an end, each party may find that they are at war over who gets to keep the house. After all, the family home may be one of a Colorado couple's largest assets, so when divorce gets messy and each spouse wants to feel like they "won", the family home can become a source of contention when it comes to property division. However, despite the memories and emotions attached to it, is it always wise to keep the family home after divorce?

First, if a person keeps the family home, it will cost them money. They will solely be responsible for the mortgage, home maintenance, homeowner's insurance and property taxes. This could take a big bite out of a person's income.

Therefore, before deciding to keep the family home, a spouse may want to look into other housing options. Is it possible to downsize into a smaller home? Or, is it possible to rent a suitable place for less money and in a desirable area? Maybe it is best to try to sell the family home and split the proceeds.

If a divorcing couple does decide to sell the family home, they will need to determine what their home is currently worth. Will they be able to sell it for a price that allows them to pay off the mortgage plus moving and closing costs? A realtor may be able to help a couple decide if it would be profitable to sell the family home.

Another thing to consider is that if a spouse keeps the family home, but down the road decides to sell it, they could be stuck paying a sizable amount in capital gains taxes. Before taking on the family home post-divorce, a spouse may want to speak to a professional to understand how keeping or later on selling the family home will affect them tax-wise.

After a divorce, the family home may hold both good memories and unpleasant memories. While it may be desirable to keep it, especially if a couple has children, such decisions should not be rushed into. By taking into account all the aspects of owning a home in one's newly single life, a person can determine whether it is worth it to fight to keep the family home.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Keep or Sell the Family Home During Divorce?," Nancy Kay, March 1, 2016

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