When it’s time to leave the marital home

Leaving or selling the marital home is one of the most difficult consequences of divorce, and it is a sad reality for many couples, as they have to downsize when they go their separate ways. They simply cannot afford to live under the same living conditions that they have during their married years. Leaving a loved family home, whether owned or rented, can be tough.

People may not understand how difficult this is for you and may think about it as just another reality of divorce. In fact, many couples stay together much longer than they should because they fear leaving their homes. High property prices in Australia have also made it very difficult for many people to find decent homes to move into. Hence, they are unable to leave even the worst relationships.

Whether you decide to sell or not may be determined by whether you or your ex is willing and able to buy the other partner out. Once you have reached settlement whether you should sell the house or not should become a lot clearer.

Assets are not split down the middle, there is a complex formula that is used to decide who gets what in a divorce. The formula depends on financial and non-financial contributions made during the marriage. The primary caregiver to the children also has an impact on the asset allocation.

Whatever the end result, parents are always concerned about the effect of any moves on the children. Moving out of the home with the children comes along with a great deal of guilt for the disruption caused in their lives.

Staying in the marital home after divorce

It can be comforting when you get to keep the marital home after the divorce. It means that you are in familiar surroundings and continue to form part of the community that you know. On the other hand, you are surrounded by memories, bittersweet no doubt, of the good and bad times that you and your ex have shared over the years.

In addition, you may have the financial concern of a mortgage that you now have to shoulder alone. You may want to consider selling if the cost burden of making repayments is giving you sleepless nights. There is no point in working yourself to the bone in an attempt to pay a mortgage that is making it difficult to manage the household expenses. If this is the case it may be far better for the family to move into a more affordable home and do without the stress.

If you believe that you will not manage the mortgage on your own it is better to sell your home as part of the divorce settlement. This is because the cost of the sale will come out of the settlement amount. If a few months into the divorce you find that you cannot afford the mortgage you may end up having to pay the substantial estate agent fees on your own.

Let’s not forget that if you transfer the property from joint ownership to your name or from one partner to another under a court order or BFA, the transfer may be exempt from transfer fees. The cost saving of the stamp exemption must be weighed against estate agent fees when deciding how to dispose of property on divorce.

Apart from the possible financial burden of staying on in the marital home after divorce, you should embark on some redecoration of the home. A lick of paint, some new linen, a throw or curtains can help you to make that home truly yours rather than one filled with bittersweet memories.  

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