If you’re divorcing later in life, you must be especially prudent when deciding on your living accommodations post-divorce. Your initial reaction may be to fight for ownership and occupancy of the family home. But is that the wisest course?

Often, it’s not. This is likely the biggest decision you will have to make in your divorce, so you want to make sure that you understand what’s at stake. Buying out your spouse’s share of the marital home or trading your share of other valuable assets like pension benefits or a 401k might be a big mistake. Ask yourself the following:

Can I afford to keep the house?

Winding up “house-poor” in your retirement years is quite different from being house-poor in your 30s. At a time when your career may be winding down, you could find yourself struggling to make ends meet.

Also, make sure that you factor in property taxes and maintenance costs when deciding whether you can shoulder this financial burden

Can I manage the upkeep?

Can you climb a ladder and clean out the gutters? What about sweeping off the roof after a hurricane blows through Orlando? Your property values could plummet if you can’t carry out routine maintenance tasks.

Do you want to downsize?

You may decide that while you still want to be a homeowner, you’re ready to own less of a home. Negotiate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to sell the property outright and split the proceeds. Then, both of you can make the right choices regarding your separate living accommodations.

Am I ready to decide?

Divorce is a traumatic event in anyone’s life. Take a step back and thoroughly contemplate all of your options before acting. Gain some perspective about your future wants and needs.

Renting for a few months (or years) after your divorce can allow you to carefully weigh your option. Don’t get rushed into making a premature decision. Your family law attorney can help you explore all settlement possibilities.

Source: Since My Divorce, “Tough Decision After Divorce: Rent or Own,” Mandy Walker, accessed June 01, 2018