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Is keeping one’s house the right goal during an Iowa divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Divorce

Some couples both remain in their marital home during the early stages of divorce until they resolve matters related to property division. Those preparing for divorce are often eager to protect their interest in the home where they have lived.

After all, spouses often commit a significant portion of their household’s monthly budget toward mortgage payments and may have tens of thousands of dollars in equity or more accrued in the property where they live. Partially as a result of such investment, spouses may become fixated on the idea of keeping the marital home during a divorce and end up complicating the process unnecessarily.

People share home value regardless of who lives there

There are some rare scenarios in which the home where people live is separate property that only belongs to one spouse. There might be a prenuptial agreement clarifying the ownership of the home, or perhaps it was an inherited property. Most of the time, the real property owned by spouses in Iowa will be marital property that belongs to both spouses.

Regardless of who earned more money or who currently stays at the home, both spouses will have an interest in the equity that they added during the marriage. It is quite common for one spouse to refinance as a means of withdrawing some of that equity to compensate the other spouse. Even if someone doesn’t take equity out of the property, the other spouse would receive assets of comparable value, like retirement savings.

Whether or not keeping the marital home is the right goal depends on someone’s personal and family circumstances. Income levels and even custody arrangements can directly influence whether or retaining the house is an appropriate goal. People also have to consider their ability to handle house maintenance and repairs. For many, staying in the home where they have memories with their spouse can be painful, and carrying for the property without support can be a challenge.

Making a rational decision about priorities requires time

People frequently have emotional responses to major decisions when dividing property and planning for the future during Iowa divorces. Those who take the time to learn about the law regarding property division and to think objectively about what resources they need to rebuild their lives may have a better time setting themselves up for the future. At the end of the day, being practical when setting priorities during divorce can help people achieve the best possible outcomes when preparing to transition to single life.