Money can’t buy happiness — and no amount of money is worth staying in an unhappy marriage. Just the same, you need to take a careful look at the financial aspects of divorce and make your moves carefully as you proceed if you want to come out of the process relatively unscathed.
Here are two financial aspects of divorce you need to think about:
- Should you keep or sell the house?
If you keep your home, you’re going to end up with all of the maintenance costs and the full mortgage payment — but you won’t have your spouse’s income to help. Your emotional attachment to the home may not be worth the damage to your finances from keeping it.
Selling the house in a rush can also hurt you. Sellers can smell desperation and most are savvy enough to take advantage of the situation. Alternatively, you may not have enough equity in the house yet to get away clean — or the market may simply be weak. When that happens, you can end up selling the home for less than you should and you and your spouse will both suffer financially.
You and your spouse may need to work together to come up with a plan that won’t put either of you in a financial bind. For example, you may agree to split the cost of upkeep on the home for the next few years — then sell it when the equity is higher or the market is better.
- Are you prepared for new start-up costs?
It may have been a while since you’ve started over at a new place. You need to remember that you’ll have to pay a security deposit, turn on the utilities in your name and buy a few furnishings.
It isn’t unreasonable to ask your spouse to work with you (or to work with your spouse) as you start over. You may agree to split the costs of setting up a new residence for one of you, rather than putting all of the expenses on one person.
Whenever possible, spouses need to work together to end a marriage effectively. Experienced advice from an attorney may help you see new possibilities for a peaceful divorce.