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Deciding Where to Live during a Divorce

Making the decision about where to live during a divorce can be challenging.  There are various practical, financial, and emotional considerations.  Below are some things that you should consider as you analyze your options.  

  At the outset, if you are the victim of domestic violence, you may need to immediately leave the home for your own safety or take the necessary steps to have your spouse removed from the home by way of a Final Restraining Order.  There are many services available in the community that offer help to victims of domestic violence ranging from counseling to housing.

Assuming that you are not dealing with such extenuating circumstances, there are certain intangible benefits as to why you may want to stay in your home during a divorce.  If there are young children involved, the emotional aspect of having to sell and leave “their” home can be very daunting to them.  Another advantage of staying in your home is the value of having familiar neighbors who could provide support to your family during this time of transition.  There is certainly something to be said for keeping one aspect of your life stable while so many other aspects are changing.  Staying in the home also gives you time to think about your decision and make sure that you are making the right “move” for your family.

Likewise, there are financial considerations.  You may be aware of the expenses associated with living in your home, such as the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and maintenance.  If those expenses are manageable, staying in your home may be the less expensive option.  Also, by staying in your home, you would not need to worry about the cost of moving or finding a new place to rent or purchase.  

Of course, if you are going to be living with your spouse in your existing home during the divorce process, you must be able to remain civil and respectful towards one another.  You and your spouse may need to set boundaries and give each other figurative and literal space.  Moreover, it is important to keep things peaceful (avoid yelling and fighting) if there are children in the home.

On the other hand, you may wish to use this time period as an opportunity to make a change.  Perhaps, you would like to live in a new location or try a new living style.  However, when buying a home, you need to be realistic about your financial situation and aware that cash may be in short supply if the divorce process takes longer than anticipated.  

Renting is a viable option if you need time to sort through what you want post-divorce.  Plus, issues with respect to maintenance will be someone else’s responsibility.  Renting is also a good option if you want to be in a particular area because of the school system, but it is cost-prohibitive to buy. 

Finally, it is important to remember that each divorce is unique, and just because a particular path worked well for a friend or family member, that does not mean that is the best option for you.  There is no one right answer.  You will have the best chance of being satisfied with your decision as to housing if you take the time to weigh all of your options.

Prior to making any decisions regarding your future housing arrangements, contact the attorneys at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, LLC to discuss your rights and options.