Logistical and financial reasons top the list for why a couple who is undergoing divorce or who has already completed the process, might agree to share a home. Especially when one or both of the parties employment situation has changed for the worse or neither party can afford to live on their own. Given the staggeringly high average home prices in the Denver Metro area that appear to be unfazed even by global events like COVID19, former couples face the very real prospect of sharing space for weeks or even months.
Here are seven tips for same space survival with your soon to be ex-spouse:
Draw boundaries within your home. Define your personal space and ask your spouse to honor it. Get to know your their personal space and extend them the same courtesy. This can head off potential arguments and just makes common sense. After all, you’re not sharing a bed anymore, so why would you continue to commingle your personal items?
Remember this is not Logic 101. There will be no- if then statements like, “Joe will move out if and when he secures employment that pays x amount per month.” If there is no goal line, one or both of you may be reluctant to move out anytime soon. It may seem counterintuitive, after all, why would they want to share space when the relationship has deteriorated? Think about a nightmare roommate you’ve had. The same question applied to them. They may have had their own motivations to stay put or worse, no motivation at all, so a projected move out date can only serve to motivate them to keep their word.
Even if you’ve always texted to ask what they want for dinner, refrain from hitting send. Start sweating the small stuff. For example, without noticing it, you are still ending sentences with “honey” after so many years together. Slow down and be deliberate with your actions and words.
Treat your new arrangement as you would a roommate and create an agreement for both parties to sign. Cover payment of the mortgage, maintenance tasks and if one person has done the bulk of the household duties, specify what each person will be doing going forward. Otherwise someone will continue to wash, dry and fold clothes for the other and there may be bleach and shrinkage of fabrics and resentment. If it is important, it goes in the agreement.
Say the above suggestions work beautifully and you and your soon to be ex are getting along swimmingly. You start to become muddled on why you wanted to divorce in the first place. Be clear about your reasons why you want a divorce and make sure to write them down. You can refer back in the moments where nostalgia clouds your judgment.
Set boundaries, set a time and if you have children in the home, a private place to talk. Take turns speaking and if emotions escalate, take a time out. We’re not that different from 3rd graders when it comes down to it. If the topic of discussion is of grave importance, write down what you agree on and what you have not come to an agreement about. Agree to end a conversation after a certain time limit and stay on one topic. Propose more than one solution and remain open to new ways to solve the disagreement.
We suggest that divorce discussions not take place at this stressful time and while confined to the house. There is a better time and place to get into divorce discussions. If there are children involved, consider implementing a child centered pledge.
During times of financial insecurity, more ex couples consider the prospect of co-habitating until they’re both able to transition. We hope you find these suggestions helpful if you or someone you know will be living with an ex.
The Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado team works with clients to prepare them financially and emotionally toward a peaceful solution for both parties. Give them a call at (303) 468-5626 or go online to schedule your 20 minute phone or Zoom call with one of our divorce professionals.
Selling a home while going through a divorce is unique and not every realtor has specialized knowledge. That's why you may want to hire a realtor who is credentialed in this area. Consider all of the factors that could contribute to financial disaster. First, the marital home is usually the couple’s largest asset. Second, many couples, even if they are not divorcing because of money, are not immune from a financial battle over what will happen to the home. Third, selling a home is already an emotional process and in the case of divorcing spouses, compounded by the emotional and physical separation of divorce. Finally, divorce has an effect on the open communication a realtor needs to facilitate a sale that benefits both parties.
Thankfully, there are certifications you can look for when selecting a relator. One of the most highly respected is CDRE or Certified Divorce Real Estate Agent, bestowed upon agents who complete the Ilumni Institute’s rigorous 5 day certification program. A second certification, offered by Carol Wilson is a Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist designation. A Realtor uses CREDS or REDS after their name to signify they have completed this coursework.
Questions to Ask a Realtor who Specializes in Divorce
No matter what designation your realtor has, you should ask each agent specific questions about their references, number of homes sold, and experience selling homes during divorce proceedings.
It’s also a good idea to ask hypothetical questions about potential conflicts that might arise and ask how they would handle the situation. For example, what if your soon to be ex spouse wants to spend money to make improvements before the sale but you prefer to sell the home as is? Ask the realtor how he/she would handle this dilemma and evaluate whether they could help come to a solution that both of you can live with.
Realtors who specialize in divorce understand can explain legal jargon and tax issues. CREDS, REDS, or CDRE designated agents are trained in the legal and tax aspects of the divorce process as it relates to real estate. They learn obscure legal rulings, regulations and tax implications. This specific training allows them to help their divorcing clients take advantage of tax laws that are specific to selling a house in the divorce.
A successful home sale during divorce requires more than proficiency in legal and tax implications. After all, the sale is just as much emotional as it is strategic. This is where an agent’s soft skills are tested. If possible, schedule an in person meeting to assess the realtor’s communication skills. E-mails and phone calls only reveal snippets of how the realtor will be able to address your unique situation.
Look for an agent who is fair, level-headed, listens and is good at negotiation. While you could read reviews, any realtor who is worth talking to should be willing to share references from other divorcing couples who they have helped.
Even if your income was relatively consistent before the divorce, there is a good chance that the divorce is going to have financial repercussions.
Post divorce you may need to pay attorney or mediation fees, child support, spousal support, divide up savings and investments, etc. It is possible that you will end up with considerably less money after the divorce or more financial obligations – like taking care of children on your own. A realtor who specializes in divorce is aware of these possibilities and will help you determine what you can afford and if the mortgage payment would be sustainable.
To recap, the sale of your marital home warrants due diligence. Divorcing couples should take the time to interview and select a credentialed agent who is experienced, well regarded, and has the soft skills necessary to negotiate the sale. Despite the need to “wash your hands” of the home, the sale should not be rushed without considering these factors. A realtor who is CREDS or CDRE certified is in the best position to understand your emotional and financial needs.
If you’re thinking about beginning divorce proceedings, chances are you’ve began thinking about what your financial situation will be after a divorce? Will you be able to afford to keep the home the kids were raised in? Can we afford to support two households? How will the changes in income affect our children?
When it comes to assets, often the family home is a big part of the financial picture and figuring out all of your options might feel overwhelming. So, let’s take a look at what you should be considering when it comes to your real estate investment as part of a divorce..
When we look at the real estate a couple jointly owns or acquired during the marriage, we’re including not only the residence, but also any rentals, timeshares, and land. Depending on the type of real estate, how it is titled, and whose name is on the mortgage, proper disposition of real estate is tricky due to tax traps and financing obstacles.
We also know it is important to do a complete forward-looking cash flow analysis; this helps the client see the future financial picture of home ownership and we help them determine how much they can afford, how much should be used as a down payment vs. be financed.
Sometimes, especially in the current Colorado real estate market, a marital residence must be sold in order to secure another residence, or a residence may need to be purchased as an investment property while still married just to make sure the family has a place to live.
Because this transaction and its timing is so complex, it is of utmost importance that all angles are analyzed, and the impact clearly known; this includes the moving and market readiness costs that are involved and how the marital residence is titled along with other potential issues with lenders. We work closely with Certified Divorce Lending Professionals (CDLP), to help navigate the complex maze of mortgage lending.
Bottom line, yes a home can be sold/bought in conjunction with a divorce, however it must be done with an abundance of caution!