One of the first questions we ask ourselves when the decision is made to separate is “will I be able to keep my home?”, or alternatively “where am I going to live?” As is often the way when we’re looking at these important questions, it depends on your own personal circumstances.
Can you afford to stay in your home?
The first and most important question is whether you can afford to stay in your home, pay the bills, maintain it and still be able to have the standard of living that you would like. I have watched friends try to stay in the family home so that the children aren’t disrupted further by a house move on top of their parents divorcing. However, for you, battling to pay the bills and feeling stressed about money can add to an already difficult situation. Sometimes it is better to take a pragmatic approach and start a fresh straight away.
Begin by working out the cost of remaining in the family home. You will need to include any maintenance you will either receive or need to pay. You may also have other assets, such as savings or investments that can help with the costs. If you are over 55, you may also be able to access your pensions to provide additional help, but it is important that you take professional financial advice if you are considering this.
This is a difficult area to work out on your own. Financial planners specialising in divorce, such as Smart Divorce, can help.
I’m the primary carer for our children, can I stay in the family home?
It might be possible for you to remain in the family home, as long as you can afford to do so, as discussed above.
There is a type of financial order called a Mesher Order. This would allow the primary carer to remain in the family home until the children reach a certain age, usually 18. The house would then be sold, and the equity split according to the order. Whilst this is an option, it is worth thinking carefully about whether you would prefer to have your own home, which you own, rather than having your ex have a share in your home. You may decide that you are happy with this type of arrangement. If you are, you should speak to your legal representative to see how this is arranged and whether your ex will agree to it.
Can I buy out my ex?
It depends on your financial position. There may be sufficient savings and investments elsewhere to allow one of you to keep the house and the other to have equivalent monetary value.
If this is not the case and you will need to borrow money through a mortgage, which is simply a loan secured on a property, you need to find out how much you can borrow. Most people approach their bank or existing mortgage lender first. However, you should consider approaching an independent mortgage broker, as they may be able to find a lender to lend a bit more or charge a lower interest rate, or lower cost package. Please do get in touch if you would like a recommendation.
You will need to have a clear picture of the amount of maintenance that you are likely to pay or receive as this figure will be used in the affordability calculation by the mortgage company. You will also need to have a clear budget so that you are happy that this route is affordable, rather than relying on the mortgage company’s opinion.
If you would like to talk to us about the options that you might have, or about how to work out a monthly budget to see if this is affordable, please book an initial chat at a time to suit you using https://calendly.com/tamsin-caine/15min.