Should You Keep the House?
No. That’s the unanimous verdict from the experts. Think of it as an asset that needs dividing. Don’t forgo more lucrative assets in exchange for it.
Still, emotion often overrides logic in making the decision to sell the family home, and many—especially women—want to keep it. “But you might as well dig a hole and throw your money in it,” says Beth D’Andrea. “Even if the mortgage is paid off, owning a home is a major cash expense because of utilities, taxes and the inevitable repairs.”
And if you have to take a second job to afford the mortgage, or if the house falls into disrepair because you can’t maintain it, then you aren’t providing stability for yourself or your kids.
“Will you really be able to move on with your life in a marital home filled with memories?” asks Sheila Brennan, a Wayne-based divorce coach. “I moved, and I hated it. But it was the right decision and ultimately empowering.”
“Don’t get stuck,” says Sheila Brennan. “Some people get divorced but never really separate their lives from their exes’. Your family and your home have changed, and you have to, as well.”
Your friends will probably change, too. “Some won’t be comfortable hanging out with you because they’re sure divorce is contagious,” Brennan says. “Others will retreat cautiously, so as not to hurt your feelings. Most won’t invite you to couples parties. Find a core group of friends.”
And listen to yourself. “Plan for what you want to do with this new stage in your life,” Brennan says. “Get a therapist, get a boyfriend, get another college degree, whatever.” Matthew Gelber agrees. “This needs to be the new reality,” he says.