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How to Determine if You Can Afford Your Home After Divorce

If you and your spouse are about to get divorced and you own a home together, one of your primary concerns is likely whether you will be able to afford it in the long term. After all, in addition to the money and time you have already put into your house, it likely holds a lot of sentimental value to you.

However, many people in this situation do not spend enough time considering whether keeping their house is the right financial move for them in the long run. There are going to be property taxes, maintenance costs, changes in the value of the home and other considerations to take into account, along with how paying for the home with just one source of income will affect your financial circumstances.

The following are a few steps you might take to determine if keeping the house is a viable option for you:

  • Determine the home’s value: Realtors are typically able to provide fair market value estimates at no cost, but this is not typically going to be an exact figure. For an actual valuation of the home, get a certified real estate appraisal. This typically costs between $300 and $500.
  • Determine the present equity: This figure is the home’s current value minus the debt currently owed against the it.
  • Determine each spouse’s equity value: How much of the property does each spouse currently own? This will give you a buy-out amount. In most cases, you’ll need to buy out your spouse’s share of the home if you plan on keeping it after your divorce. If you are unable to agree on a buy-out amount, you’ll need to take the issue to court, where the judge will use equitable distribution guidelines to come to a figure. This may or may not be favorable to you, so try to do your own negotiating outside of court.
  • Refinance the home: If you decide you are going to keep the home and were able to agree on a buy-out amount, then you may need to deal with your lender and figure out how you can refinance the home under an agreement you can afford.

To learn more about your options on a variety of issues before, during and after a divorce, consult a knowledgeable Minnesota family law attorney with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.

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