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Should I fight to keep the family home in my divorce?

For many Savannah couples, their family home is their most valuable asset. The family home may also be a piece of property to which both parties, and their children, have strong emotional ties.

During a divorce, both sides may find it hard to walk away from their family home without fighting for it.

While there are exceptions, in most cases, Georgia courts will consider a family home marital property and, thus, subject to an equitable division.  This need not be a 50-50 split, although it certainly can be.

The point is that both spouses in a divorce will usually have a legitimate claim to keep the house. Unless the couple can agree, a judge will decide what arrangement makes the most sense based on the facts and circumstances of the case.

There are some questions people can ask before trying to keep the family home

Whether they should press to keep the family home, and how hard, is a question a person should answer only after they think carefully about their best interests.

When evaluating their best interests, it is important for a person to think long-term and to separate out their emotions from what really makes sense for themselves and their children.

Here are some questions a person can ask to get started:

  • Can I afford to keep the home? Maintaining a home involves paying the mortgage, necessary utilities and fees, property taxes and other costs. The home will also require repairs and improvements.
  • On a related note, will I be able to re-finance at a reasonable rate of interest if I need to get my ex-spouse off the mortgage?
  • Is there a good reason for me to use the divorce as an opportunity to relocate? Sometimes, the best thing to do after a divorce is move close to family or other support. It is also may be a good time for a fresh start.
  • What are my children’s feelings about the home, and how might my trying to keep it affect the court’s custody decisions?
  • If I keep the home, will I have to make a payment to my spouse to make sure the property is distributed fairly?

Even after working through these questions, people should continue to think carefully about their strategy after getting a full understanding of their legal options.