Dividing the fruits of a marriage in a divorce is typically a messy process, although it doesn’t have to be. The damage can be mitigated by having a valid prenuptial agreement in place. Even without one, however, couples can still navigate these shoals with equanimity.
Keeping the house can be prudent in some cases, but in others, it can become an albatross around the neck of a newly-single person struggling with the financial and other commitments of home ownership.
Parents of young children may seek the house in a settlement to preserve the kids’ stability as much as possible. But empty-nesters could find themselves saddled with an asset they can neither afford nor maintain properly. Each situation must be judged solely on its merits without comparing the circumstances to other divorcing couples.
Often, it’s wiser to negotiate for a larger piece of the retirement pension pie than to fight tooth and nail for the house.
When it’s time to split up the retirement accounts, you also have to weigh the tax considerations, which likely will require some input from your financial planner.
If the pension is from an employer, for the non-employee to access benefits, the couple will need to draft and sign a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This is in addition to the judgment of divorce.
Before agreeing to any settlement terms proposed by your ex or their attorney, make sure that you consult your family law attorney for guidance. The decisions you make when ending your marriage will set the terms for the lifestyle that you will have post-divorce, so making the most prudent decisions possible is the best way to emerge unscathed.