The home that you shared with your spouse may be one of the biggest concerns you have when ending your marriage. Your home represents hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of income and labor.

From the financial equity you developed by paying your mortgage on time every month to the sweat equity you accrued by adding a beautiful back porch or replacing outdated fixtures with new ones, your home represents a substantial investment. For many people, the home they shared with their spouse can also be an emotional asset that holds a lot of value because of the memories that they made there.

As with other important decisions in your divorce, it is usually best for you to focus on practical considerations rather than an emotional desire when deciding what is the best thing to do with your home during the asset division process.

Can you afford the home on your own?

Many couples in New Hampshire require the income of both spouses to qualify for and maintain the mortgage on their property. While you may have good credit, your income simply may not be high enough to comfortably cover the mortgage on your own each month.

When you consider that the courts will likely order you to split the equity with your ex, that could mean a substantially higher payment than you currently have. Working with a financial expert to determine if your mortgage would be feasible with your current income is an important step in deciding whether you should try to keep the home or not.

Do you think it will be easier or harder for you and your children in the house?

You need to be honest with yourself about how it will feel to live in the house without your spouse. If you have children, you also need to consider their wishes. While you may want to keep them in the same schools, staying in the same home after the divorce could be emotionally taxing for everyone.

Sometimes, a new space is an important part of a new life. Other times, staying in the family home could make it easier for the kids to adjust to life after divorce.

Can you negotiate with your spouse to retain the house?

Is it possible that you can set terms amicably with your ex that allow you to retain the home? Do you believe that negotiations with them are possible? If not, you need to accept the innate unpredictability of how the courts handle asset division and the increased expense involved in a litigated divorce.

You could spend many weeks and thousands of dollars trying to convince the courts to allocate the home to you, only to have them advise you to sell the house as part of the divorce proceedings. It’s important to understand that unless you file for an uncontested divorce or work within the confines of a prenuptial agreement, the courts will have the final say in the terms of your divorce.