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3 Major Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Divorced or Separated (2/3)

2. Keeping the family home

While staying in the family home may seem like a good idea, either to provide some stability for the children during an already tumultuous time or to avoid the added hassle or expense of having to find a new place to live and moving there – all too frequently hanging on to the family home turns into a costly mistake.

Many divorcing people, especially women, seem to think that the children are so traumatized by the divorce, they may not be able to handle moving to a new place. It is often a misguided effort to hold on to the past under the guise of providing stability for the kids. But most kids are flexible and they will adjust, even if at first they may not be too happy with the move. While it would be preferable to keep the kids in the neighborhood where they grew up and where their school and friends are, you should not stay in a home you cannot afford. Before you decide to stay put, run some numbers and calculate whether you have the income to pay the family bills and the household. All too frequently, maintaining the same lifestyle as before the split may simply not be possible. Instead of one family, there may now be two separate households to support, which will impact the family’s resources. Once you divorce, you simply may not be able to afford to live in your old home. 

Also, going through a divorce is already challenging and stressful enough as is – do you want to stay in a place where everything reminds you of your past? Staying in the family home can make it very difficult to move on. A move may just be what you need, a fresh start to a new life.

What happens, however, when you cannot afford to stay in your old home, but in this economy and housing market, you simply cannot sell your house? Unfortunately, that happens to more and more people. If possible, you and your ex should try to collaborate to make sure that the mortgage and taxes are paid. After all, losing the marital home to a bank will not benefit you or your ex-spouse. Maybe with time, you can then sell the house and split the proceeds.