I want to stay in our family home.
Everyday l support client’s 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 family home’. In a lot of cases, this just isn’t possible. The thought of selling just another burden to bare. The emotional attachment and secure environment become the driving force in doing whatever possible to keep the property.
But, l would like my clients to review all options and think about the bigger picture. In most cases keeping the family home causes extra stress and prevents the person from moving on in their life as the debt associated translates into an anchor around their neck. Limiting their cash flow and preventing them living a life of happiness.
In some cases, the thought of betrayal and the hurt associated with the family breakdown brings financial reality to a head. And reviewing your circumstances, and spending can also be an eye-opening experience. For some clients after years of being together and then review your assets versus liabilities can seem like a wasted opportunity. With more debt than you were prepared to consider possible. Here in Australia, our way to wealth is via property and capital growth. Depositing of that asset may seem silly.
There are many benefits to staying in the family home if you can afford to.
Security is the main reason. The kids have their rooms; they know the environment and friends/family are normally nearby. Routines as such don’t need to change massively, and familiar surroundings can be though to limit the massive upheaval that divorce can create. Packing your possessions and moving houses, just another struggle. When personally you feel your weakest and don’t know how much more you can take.
Struggling to get into the property market and doing anything possible to stay also a close second in peoples decision making. The cost associated with selling and buying a new property can also be money down the drain. However, if selling your PPOR (Primary Place of Residence) as part of your financial agreement means associated selling costs are taken into the joint pool of assets and liabilities, it may save you money overall. It just depends on your financial strategy and personal needs.
Alternatively, there should always be a Plan B. This is where l see so much opportunity and personal growth for my clients. If you cant afford to stay in the family home once assets have been divided, you shouldn’t see this as a failure. Beg and borrowing to keep the property may not be the answer. Putting additional stress on yourself when it is time to move on can prevent closure and keep you treading water.
I see this time as a new chapter when you can transform your environment and step outside your comfort zone.
Moving and starting a fresh, means a new life, in a new place and a new beginning. No old recollections of unhappy times rather the ability to make beautiful memories, better ones. A transition period, if you like. Just like the butterfly, this is when you are in your cocoon, getting ready to break through and show the world the new you.
For me, I remember this time as the turning point in my life. I was so emotional leaving my home; the one l thought was more mine than his. I did all the cleaning, I planted the gardens and did the upkeep, I decorated and spent house making our house a home. Our kids had grown into teenagers and the special times we spent all brought tears to my eyes. Now it was ending, and l didn’t know when the pain of this disaster would finish. Locking the door for the last time, signalled the end of my previous life and l drove away with emotions poured out of me. The confirmation of ending.
Little did l know, that was the start of something wonderful. I no longer had familiar surroundings to protect me. I had to find the strength to build a new chapter and turning the page meant I didn’t look back, just forward. In hindsight, moving into a new rented townhouse after living in a big family home allowed me time, for me. Rather than the cleaning and work associated with the upkeep of the property. Spending time getting to know me and what l wanted out of life.
I educated myself on what to do with my money, to best build my new future. My divorce proceeds were used to purchase three investment properties, rather than a PPOR. Why, tax benefits, income generation and future security for me and my children. I never look back and am only grateful for what our family home allowed me to achieve in my new life. My story is not for everyone, but thank goodness l chose that path, there is not a day l look back and regret my decision.
Material things are just that. I truly believe that your home is where your loved ones are. It is not a building.
When you are dealing with a divorce, think differently.
Look at the facts and figures of your decision and have a team of professionals to help guide and advice you. Research shows that financial security is what keeps people up at night. If you can stay in your home and use it as a stepping stone to future wealth, without it draining your bank account, then your decision is solid. Small steps will eventually lead to big outcomes, but you need to take control of your future. Looking longterm rather than just today could be the start of something wonderful.
My advice to my clients and those of you in this position is to start a list of Pros and Cons. Be honest with yourself. Make sure you included not only emotional reasons but also financial, and practical. Look at it this way, if keeping your home will be a financial struggle, think about setting yourself free. There are other options, and just as long as you are happy and safe, life will only get better. You don’t need to do this alone, so seek professional advice and make a factual decision, not an emotional one.
About the Author:
Tanya Somerton is the ‘Divorce Angel’, whose business is to facilitate a seamless and amicable divorce and separation with the aid of her ‘Army of Angels.’ Tanya provides a step by step process which limits cost and conflict that sees you achieving your most financially beneficial outcome possible, now and for the future.
Tanya is also the Director of TLC Investment Group, a finance and mortgage company.
She is also the author of The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering independence through Divorce. If you are looking to prevent any mistakes and save money this book is a must. Purchase your copy here