Your life is about to change. Drastically.
You will be living on your own, but the question is where?
Will you stay in your marital home? After all, you created it together. You painted the walls together, fixed the leaky sink together, stubbed your toe on that pesky corner together, maybe even built it together. Your home has so many memories wrapped up in it. I get that. It is heart breaking to even think about living anywhere else.
You want some stability in your life right now, when everything seems to be shifting underneath you. You want to at least be able to walk through the door to familiar sights at the end of the day. There is something so incredibly comforting about familiarity.
But when familiarity plunges you into financial struggle, the comfort goes away. You cannot lose sight of your financial well being. This is an emotional time, but there are key questions that you have to keep in mind when deciding what to do with your marital home in your divorce.
Will you be able to afford your home with one income now instead of two?
The best advice may be that: “You should be prepared to divorce your house, before you make the decision to divorce your spouse.”
Think about all of the financial responsibilities that come with a home—mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, landscaping, repairs, cleaning, and other expenses—the list goes on and on. These things cost a lot of money, and they will just keep coming, as you well know. Even if you enjoy a high income and live on Kiawah Island or Seabrook Island, you will have to make some lifestyle adjustments after your Charleston divorce.
Can you realistically afford all of these things, in addition to car expenses, health expenses, phone expenses, and more? Will you be able to set aside some money for those “miscellaneous” things, so you can enjoy life and treat yourself every now and then to a dinner out, a new pair of shoes, or a mini vacation? If you lose treasured assets as part of a high net worth divorce, you may not have the money to replace them and support the house. Many things may be more important to you than the house, and you may need to be financially liquid to rebuild your financial life after your divorce.
You should be prepared to divorce your house, before you make the decision to divorce your spouse.
Will you be able to do all this and still plan for the future? And will you be able to afford all this and still breathe easy, or will you just barely be keeping your head above water?
Will you have the time for the up-keep?
A house doesn’t just cost a lot in dollars. It costs a lot in time, too. Your time. And that is valuable stuff. If you think that you will end up running yourself ragged trying to just stay on top of things and get everything done, just in time for you to do it all over again the next month or week or day, with little time in between to enjoy life…is it worth it? If you are already like this, it will only be worse when you are on your own.
big house = big work = more time
Many people do decide to keep their marital home after thinking through these questions and deciding that they can do it. But many people simply cannot.
If you are considering a divorce, you need a professional who can help you make this tough decision.
Throughout my 30+ years of experience as a divorce lawyer, I have had many people walk through my door. Each person comes with a unique situation— for example, high income/middle income, kids/no kids, high value assets/financial instability, or fault-based divorce/no-fault divorce. However, most of my clients face similar challenges when it comes to time to decide whether to keep or sell their family home as part of their divorce.
Working together, we will walk through the specific challenges that you face in deciding what to do with your house as part of the equitable division of marital property in your Charleston divorce.
If you decide to sell your house or transfer the house as part of your divorce settlement agreement, there are important tax consequences and benefits of which you need to be aware before going through with anything. See my Divorce Tax Guide and particularly my article on taxes and the sale of your home for more detailed information.
Timing is everything in determining when to sell. Do not make this decision in a hurry without thinking through the potential advantages and consequences. You need the professional guidance of a compassionate Charleston divorce lawyer who has seen situations like yours many times. Call me today for the unique care and attention you deserve. Together we will help you build a better financial future.