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Possible advantages of keeping a home in divorce

Some women in Pennsylvania may want to consider keeping the family home in a divorce. A study by the Center for Retirement Research found that households where no divorce had occurred had a net worth that was 30 percent higher than those where there had been a divorce. The study also found that divorce meant a 5 percent higher likelihood of running out of assets in retirement. However, women who were single and divorced tended to be in the same situation financially as women who never married, and the reason seemed to be because they kept the home.

Financial planners often advise against this because keeping up with the mortgage along with other payments, such as maintenance, taxes and homeowners association fees, might not be financially feasible. One financial expert says she advises women to only take the home in the divorce if they can keep it for five years or more. Otherwise, the stability offered by the home after the divorce may not be worth it.

For people who are able to keep the home and make the necessary payments, it can represent significant equity that can be accessed via a reverse mortgage or selling the home to downsize. Even if the financial benefits of the home are immediately apparent, they might be in retirement.

These are among the many factors people may need to weigh during divorce negotiations over property division. Another consideration might be how close both spouses are to retirement as well as how liquid the assets are that need to be divided. The couple might be able to negotiate an agreement that satisfies both of them. However, if either person is uncooperative, the more adversarial process of litigation might be necessary. In either case, a person may be able to strategize with an attorney about what to push for during the divorce.

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