Everyday l support clients as they deal with the heartbreaking decisions of dividing assets which they have worked hard to obtain. More often than not, I hear the woman say, ·I want to stay in our home. In a lot of cases, this just isn’t possible. The thought of selling the family home, just another burden to bare. The emotional attachment and secure environment become the driving force in doing whatever possible to keep the property.
In this podcast, we address the other opportunities available.
My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
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My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
Join my Free Facebook Group here:
Hello and welcome back to the Divorce Angel Podcast. My name is Tanya Somerton and I’ the divorce angel. My job is to streamline people’s divorces and help them get through it as quickly and easily as possible with as little stress as possible. Today, I really want to talk to you guys about something that I see that happens a lot especially with women. I’m sure men also have the same emotional attachment to this asset, but in most cases, it seems to be the women that really can’t move on from one specific issue. In a lot of cases, it’s the family home
The family home is a place where we bring our brand-new babies. We’ve spent so many hours cleaning and decorating. We’ve painted the walls, we’ve, you know, some cases, we may have built the house. When we designed it, we’ve put so much effort into everything that we’re so emotionally attached to this asset that it feels like it’s just one more thing that we are losing when we are talking about separating.
I often hear women say, “I just want to stay in my home.” In a lot of cases, it’s not possible. We’ve spoken about this before, but what happens is when a couple own or purchase a property, the title is listed with the land titles office. In most cases, 50/50, so both people are on the title, but then there’s other cases where it might be 100% in one person’s name and that could be for many reasons. If you’ve got a family business, it could be to protect the family home if something was to happen to the business. It could be that you already owned the house before you got together or someone had a greater deposit so their name went on the title. When they went and purchased the house, they were the person that serviced the mortgage so they went on the title at that stage.
That becomes something that we try and mitigate when we’re going through with our clients when we’re doing divorce roadmaps because that becomes important. We need to understand who was on the title of the property because at that stage, we can then move forward on if the property needs to be refinanced or not. What I mean by that is this is something that a lot of people don’t understand, especially women. They think that when they’re going through a separation, when they say, “Look, I want to keep the family home.” and if their ex says, “That’s okay. I have no issues with that.” what they don’t understand is that if the property is in 50/50 names, so you both own equal shares of the property, it means that the title, when the separation is completed, has to be transferred 100% into your name. If it’s transferred 100% into your name, and you have a mortgage against that property, and the mortgage is in both of your names, the bank will not allow the title to be transferred until the mortgage is refinanced.
This becomes a bit problem for a lot of women because if they don’t work or they don’t earn enough to cover the mortgage, the property then needs to be sold and this is where we get very emotional and it’s understandable because if you think about it, a family is a place that knows us the best. It’s seen us when no one else has when we’ve cried, when we’re standing in the shower bawling our eyes out, where we’ve laid in bed and we’ve dreamt about an amazing future. It’s where we’ve brought our kids home. We’ve seen them walk, we have seen amazing achievements by our children as they’ve got older. Maybe we’ve had parties and we’ve had massive celebrations at our houses. They hold such memories. They’re such amazing places and we’ve got such an attachment. But why is that? Why do we have these attachments to our home? Is it something that we’ve made up ourselves? Is it something that we put such a great deal of pressure on that we just assume that we have to keep the home.
People will often say to me that, “Well, I need to stay in the home for the children. If everything isn’t bad enough right now, the whole family’s falling apart. I feel like I’ve lost everything.” So it’s something that people just want to fight to the last minute for. I understand this because it happened to me. I had this beautiful home that we had purchased at a really reasonable price. From the moment I walked into this property, I could see the end result would be and I spent hours and hours in the garden. I would have planted over 2,000 trees. I painted, I’d, by myself, moved blue stones and built paving and I’d put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this property. I felt like, even though my ex-husband was helping pay the mortgage, I felt that this house was mine. Whether it was just because I felt like I’d put all the blood, sweat, and tears, I’d painted the walls, I decorated it, I cleaned it– He went to work. He paid the bills but I just felt like my hard work is what got it to this state that it was in.
When it got to the stage that we had to sell the house because I simply could not– Not only could I not afford to keep it, I could afford to pay the bills just to keep. We had a pool– Just running a pool is ridiculous. We were living in a 35-square house, and the amenities, the lights, all of those sorts of thing. I could not afford to keep the house so I had no choice but to sell it. Other than the actual breakdown of my marriage, this was the second most disturbing time in the whole process. I remember feeling heartbroken.
My son, at the time, had– When we left, he had just got his license and my eldest son is, I often refer to him as my gift from God, he’s easygoing, he cause us no problems, he’s just so amazing. He was dealing our separation and pending divorce I thought quite well. The day that we shifted out of that house and we moved into the new rental property, he just got his license probably about two weeks earlier, he drove up the driveway to our new rental property and he sat in the car under this gum tree for two hours. I could not get him out of the car because I think, for him, moving out of the family home– That was really the end. He knew then that it was over and him and his brother and sister, everything had changed and he really struggled with it. That picture in my head is hard for me to even contemplate now while I’m doing this. I’m getting a little bit teary, but I just had no choice. I had to do it.
When I’m taking with clients and they are fighting to keep their house, I can relate to what they’re saying because I can remember all of those feelings. I can remember thinking that “This is my house and not only my life now ruined, he’s also taken probably what I saw as my last think that I put such blood, sweat, and tears into.”
On the reverse of this, after I’d actually sold the house and moved out– And we’ve moved into our new rental property, I look back not and see that place as the place that I rebuilt my whole life. I became my solace because previously, even though my ex-husband and I had separated and been apart, it had taken probably a year also we’d sold the house, he still thought he had the right to come back do whatever he wanted to. If he was taking the kids out, he’d come home and he’d walk in and he’d just walk around the house like it was his, but I remember one day, I was fast asleep and it must have been six or seven o’clock in the morning, and I woke up to him kissing me on the chick. It was at that stage I realized, “Well, he still thinks this house is his and he still thinks that I belong to him.” Whilst it was really difficult and hard to leave that property, it was also something I just had to do. I had to move on, I had to get out of that house because it had too many memories. My ex thought that he’s still was part owner of it which to be– Legally, he was part owner of it at that stage. He thought he could come in and out and do whatever he wanted to.
Getting back to our rental property, the very first property that we moved into, the fun, the laughter, all of those things– I feel like it was at that place I was reborn. It was at that place that I was able to reinvent me and who I wanted to be. My kids laughed, they were happy, I was happy, we could have friends around, we could do anything that we really wanted to do but I look back at that place now and think of what an amazing, loving, environment it became.
The benefits of selling your house can actually, sometimes outweigh staying. I’ve heard a client, and I’ve talked about this previously on a podcast, I’ve had a client that did everything to keep her house. The issue that I saw with this, and whilst myself, and the lawyer, and a financial adviser tried to explain it to her, she just would not accept it. The house was falling down around her. It needed work done to the roof, the front fence was falling over, the garden was out of control. It was a little bit dated, but she had to keep the house. We were able to refinance her load but what she doesn’t see is that at some stage, she’s going to need a massive input of money to get that house to a place where she can sell it in the long run.
I don’t want that for any client. I want all my clients to know when they start their new life that they’re starting from a fresh place, that they don’t need to worry about future debt, that they’ve taken all of those things into consideration. When I moved into my rental property, I banked the money that I got from the sale of our house, and I took 12 months to really think about what I was going to do with that money. I’ve talked about it before. With that money, I purchased three investment properties that I then used as way of me moving on and starting my business and getting to where I am today.
This client that I’m talking about with this house, she’s not going to have the same abilities because she’s become so time-poor because every weekend, she’s got to clean this massive house. She’s getting all of these bills for her property that is ran down. Hating is going out windows. It’s got old lights and that sort of thing in it. It’s not really environmentally friendly. It has a pool that no one goes into so she’s got to run a pool for the filter and keep it clean. All of those things are added cost that you don’t want to have if you don’t need to.
When people or women sit down in front of me and they say, “We have to keep the home and this is why.” I often get them to think about the consequences. That’s what I want you to do now. There’s so many benefits as well from selling a house, and they can be a new area, it could be seen as a new start for you in a new life, you can meet new friends and new neighbors, it could be new sporting activities and groups that you can join. You might want to go from a country to a city area. That’s the beauty of when you rent. You can pick and go and move wherever you want to and have different experiences. That’s something that you should be weighing up. Don’t always think that just because you have sell the family home that that’s a bad thing because, honestly, and I’m being truly honest here, sometimes it’s the best thing that can happen.
There’s obviously financial commitment that we need to weigh up and specially here in Australia with stamp duty. Stamp duty costs such a lot and if you need to get back into the market, we need to be weighing all of those things up and that’s part of the equation that we do when we do a divorce roadmap. Please don’t think that it’s bad because it doesn’t have to be bad. I want to see all of my clients start a new chapter and a transformation in their life. That can happen if and when you sell the house. So please, don’t think of it as all bad.
That’s probably it for this podcast. I’d really love to hear what you think about selling your house, or if you have found yourself in this position and sold and now a really grateful for that opportunity– Because that’s the thing. We need to be so grateful for everything that happens to us. A house is just a roof over a head. A home is where we are with all of the people, the family, and our loved ones. That’s really what a home is. Think of about it that way. Don’t think about the walls and the assets. As I said, it’s easy for me to say after being really emotional about selling my house, but now, looking back, it was the best thing I could have done. I reinvented myself, I am no longer mother/wife/homemaker. I was able to make myself the person I am today by that opportunity of moving into that rental home and that’s what I want for all of you.
Thanks for listening. I can’t wait to catch up with you next week, but I hope that you all have a great coming few days until I talk to you next Thursday. Okay, bye for now.
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