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Is it always wise to keep the marital home after divorce?

The simple answer to the question posed in this headline is no. It is not always a good decision to keep the marital home after divorce. 

This can be a tough pill to swallow if you want to keep your house or think that you need to keep the house because it is such a big asset. Below are some questions you should ask yourself to help you determine whether you should -- and can -- keep your marital home after divorce.

Can you afford to keep the home?

This is likely the most important question to answer first. In order to keep the house, you should be prepared to take on the mortgage payments, utility bills and other expenses associated with maintaining the home. Additionally, you will probably have to refinance the home, which may simply not be possible if you do not qualify.

What reasons do you have to keep the house?

One reason people often cite as motivation to keep a house is to provide stability for kids. This can be a good reason to try to keep the house, particularly if you are the primary caregiver. 

However, reasons like spite for your ex or fear of the unknown can be fleeting and may not be in your best interests in the long run.

What are the alternatives?

You may not necessarily have to sell your home if you can't or don't want to keep it. There are alternatives to selling, including renting it out to a tenant. However, understand that options like this one often require divorcing spouses to be on good enough terms that they can shoulder the legal and logistical challenges of such an arrangement together.

What's your emotional state?

Agreeing to take on a massive asset and expense like a house may seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment. However, making a clear, rational decision when you are angry, sad, scared and overwhelmed with stress can be all but impossible. Talk to your attorney, a financial professional and/or your loved ones for a different perspective on the situation.

You have important decisions to make when it comes to dividing your assets, including your home. Discussing these decisions with your lawyer can be crucial in securing a fair and manageable settlement.

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