You or your spouse is planning on filing for divorce. What happens next? While your first step may be to contact a divorce lawyer, your next step should be to find new living arrangements. Even if you and your spouse agree to stay in the marital home during the divorce proceedings, at least one of you will need to move out at some point.
Where will you go? This will depend on many factors, such as your finances, location, size of the home and proximity to your children (if any). If you work outside of the home, you will probably want to live somewhere with a desirable commute. Also, you need to consider taxes, upkeep, and recurring costs.
No two cases are alike, so what worked best for your friend or sibling may not be suitable for your situation. While you may think you will finally be able to move to a tropical island, that may not be practical if child custody is involved.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a new home post-divorce. The good news is there are also a lot of options. Here are some you can consider as a new home as you get a fresh start.
Staying in the Marital Home
It is possible that you do not even have to leave the home. If you have a strong connection to the marital home, then you may be able to stay in it provided that your spouse agrees to it and you can afford it. This is the biggest issue. Houses come with costs besides the mortgage. There is also maintenance, insurance and other expenses to consider. Plus, you may need to refinance the mortgage so you can buy out your ex-spouse’s share of the home.
If you do not qualify for a refinance and you really want to stay in the home, then there is the possibility that you and your ex-spouse can continue joint ownership of the home. He or she may not agree to that, though, since they will be responsible for making the mortgage payment if you fail to stay current on payments. This is a huge financial responsibility if they are paying rent or a mortgage elsewhere, as well.
However, staying in the home can be beneficial. It reduces stress because you do not have to look for a new place to live. It also provides stability for children and you have access to neighbors who can help you as you transition to life as a single person.
Buying a New Home
Staying in the marital home may come with bad memories, so many people opt for a fresh start with a new home. This allows you to move to a more desirable location and choose the right size home for your needs. Many people use this opportunity to downgrade and reduce expenses.
The biggest downside, though, is that buying a new home is an expensive endeavor. You will need to qualify for a mortgage, which can be challenging during a divorce. Buying a home also comes with a lot of upfront costs. You will need a down payment, new furniture and money for closing costs. Keep in mind that you may not have access to money during a divorce, so you may want to hold off on buying a home until the divorce has been finalized and you are in a better financial position.
Renting an Apartment/Home
Renting is often the best decision during a divorce. A divorce is highly emotional and you are already making huge decisions. Why add a home purchase to your list? Buying a home is a huge purchase if you only plan to stay in it temporarily, so it is often better to rent at first. A temporary home gives you time to think about what you are looking for in a home. Plus, if you have teens who want to stay in the area, you can rent for a couple years before moving on to your dream home. Renting offers flexibility and also increases cash flow, which will come in handy post-divorce.
Staying With Friends or Family
If money is tight, you may not be able to even rent a home. So what other options do you have? You can ask to stay with a close friend or family member. Surely you have parents or siblings who would take you in temporarily as you deal with your divorce and find a new living situation. If you do, this is the time to look for a job and save up as much as you can. Be a respectful guest and do not expect to stay with friends and family forever, as this can lead to animosity. Be responsible and start working toward a place of your own.
Renting an RV
If you have a travel trailer or can easily rent one, another option is to park it somewhere and stay temporarily. You may be able to stay at a friend’s or family member’s home if they have enough room and are willing to accommodate you. If not, then you can park it at a local campground. The prices are typically reasonable and many have amenities such as stores, laundry facilities, restrooms, showers and even pools.
Seek Legal Help
Deciding where to live after a divorce is a huge decision. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, and while your dream may be to live by the beach or in a bustling city, is it realistic?
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you make good financial decisions after a divorce. He has more than 30 years of experience in the field and he can help you finalize your divorce with ease. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling (954) 346-6464.