Should women keep the house in divorce?

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I mentioned before: when I got divorced it was critical that I keep the house. I had a lot going for me: my ex moved out, unannounced, I had a job and good credit, and I had primary custody of the kids. Plus we had a lot of equity in the home and mortgage rates have been at an all-time-low, so it wasn’t a huge financial stretch for me to refinance and buy him out.

But this isn’t true for all women. Deana Arnett, a certified financial planner with Rosenthal Wealth Management Group in Northern Virginia. This savvy money professional went through her own divorce a few years ago and walked away from the house she shared with her ex. “It was the worst move I ever made,” Arnett says. “It was a very emotional time and all I could think of was ending in a clean way without lawyers and fighting. In hindsight I realize I walked away from a lot of money that was rightfully mine.” Today she advises women to do better for themselves and their kids.

There are pros and cons to keeping the house in the divorce. Which is right for you?

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Reasons to keep the house in your divorce:

  • Chances are, you will have less money when you divorce. If you’re forced to leave the home, you will likely move to smaller, less desirable digs.
  • The home is the biggest financial asset for most couples. You walk away from that, you may lose a lot of assets — even if he buys you out. Why?
  • Historically, real estate has been a more stable investment when compared with stocks (recent years being an exception). Between 1978 and 2004, real estate appreciated an average of 8.6 percent per year. While stocks returned more than 13 percent during that time, they also saw more peaks and valleys. True, stocks grew more. HOWEVER, that is just appreciation — not including the wealth-building associated with paying off a mortgage, or the tax advantages.
  • Because your household income will be lower in the short-term, the tax write offs like mortgage interest and property taxes will be even more valuable post-divorce. Just make sure you remember that when estimating your taxes. Plus, if you were to sell your home, you can likely pocket most or all of the profits tax-free. Only a few investment vehicles provide such a tax perk.
  • The emotional reasons to keep the house include providing a measure of stability for you and your kids during a tumultuous time. This includes staying in the same schools and close to friends and neighbors who provided emotional and practical support.

 

However, there are lots of very good reasons to let your marital home go — whether to your ex, or to sell it on the market.One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in my work, as well as have heard from divorce attorneys, is women’s insistence on keeping the marital home in divorce — to her detriment.

Reasons NOT to keep the house in divorce:

  • You can’t afford it. Accepting that your income is now lower after divorce, and therefore you lifestyle must change, is often very difficult — especially for the lesser-earning spouse, who unfortunately is usually the woman. Going into debt, facing losing that very home you so desperately want to hang on to, and the emotional turmoil that financial stress induces is just bad news. Don’t.
  • Selling helps you move on. Houses are emotional things. That house likely represented a family and life that you wanted very much to succeed — but things turned out differently. Nothing like new real estate (and furnishings!) to relaunch your new life, and put your old one behind you.
  • A new home is empowering! Whether you are purchasing a new house or renting a place on your own, moms tell me that doing this solo is one of the most empowering things they’ve ever done.
  • It (might) teach your kids financial responsibility financial. Because your home is likely your biggest financial asset, you should treat it with as little emotion as possible. Compromising your finances, emotional well-being and good sense for the sake of keeping a house you really like is not a good financial example for your kids.
  • Selling (might) teach them emotional resistance. Sometimes life sucks giant, hairy donkey balls. It just does. Divorce is usually like that. But showing a measure of grace, moving on, and making wise decisions for your whole family in the face of rotten times is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids.

 

 

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70 thoughts on “Should women keep the house in divorce?

  1. hi there. i just saw your link over at miss single mama. anyway, i’m really enjoying it so far (my finances are trash).. i just kinda wish it wasn’t just directed at divorced women. i dated my son’s father for 5 years until i found out i was pregnant and he decided to bolt. none of this was an option for me.

    (ps. not a teen mom either. i’m 28 with my five-year-old)

    1. So is this blog saying in all circumstances ragarldless who was Careless in the marriage. Shouldn’t the man get something out of the house to since it was likely not always but it was likely it was HIS income alone that allowed the women to even afford said house?

  2. Hi Rachel – thanks for the feedback. As this site gets going I hope there will be plenty of material for all moms — divorced, never married, single by choice, and even married (you know you either a) often feel like a single mom, and/or b) fantasize about being a single mom!). Keep reading, and keep the suggestions coming!

  3. I can see how this would be good advice, but my husband was negatively impacted by giving his ex the home in the divorce. She stopped making the mortgage payments, never refinanced (though the settlement ordered she do so within a year of the divorce)and ended up in a short-sale with his name dragged along for the ride. I think that it’s important to note that husband or wife; if you can’t afford it on your own you shouldn’t keep it.

    1. Syl – those are excellent points. Taking on a home that you can’t afford kills the finances of all parties involved — even if they’re no longer married.

    2. Great point. I agree that there is a lot of sound advice as well but think that there are a lot of women especially that hold on longer that is financially feasable. I hate to see that because it seems counter productive to what we strive for as mothers. It’s important to reassess frequently to make sure you aren’t digging yourself into a deeper hole.

    3. Yes, why would every woman be considered winning when they probably relied on someone else’s income to afford the home in the first place? Haha, this baffles me actually… it happens all the time and the woman is struggling the rest of her life with an “emotional attachment” victory! haha!

        1. I need help. My husband is a bipolar, dysfunctional, unstable, verbally abusive disabled veteran. We were both supposed to be getting our credit scores up to purchase a home, he intentionally went ahead and applied and I ended up only being able to sign the deeds. We live in texas. He used his va certificate and va loan. I have given up too much and I dont want to leave this home. Help

          1. So your disabled husband who is a veteran used his resources he earned by serving to purchase you a home and you feel like you deserve it because he was mean? What planet do you live on. You need a healthy dose of realty. Entitled people like ourself are why divorce is awful to
            Go through. Sounds like you sacrifice sooooo much for you disabled husband who purchased you a home. Idiot.

            1. “Mary”, hush. You sound like an embittered male MRA. When a couple is married, it behooves them both to not make major purchases without consulting the other. He basically deprived her of any choice about buying a home. Remember, when you are married, you are financially bound. Would you like it if someone signed a contract obligating you without your consent? And in a marriage, both partners are considered to contribute equally. Money is not everything, Stay-at-home spouses contribute housekeeping, child care, cooking, emotional support so you can pursue your career unfettered by trivial concerns, and, for military spouses, dealing with PTSD and long deployments, etc. In the past, these women were dumped without recourse, or it required a long and bitter trial to determine who was “at fault”. And thus we have no-fault divorce. So, if you married a gold-digger and she didn’t pull her weight for 20 years, and you didn’t divorce her before then, the courts are not going to see it your way. If you married a cheater, and didn’t divorce her long ago, tough. Divvying up assets equally is the most fair to the most people.

  4. I let him keep the house when we divorced. We had zero equity in it, as we bought it with a zero down payment. Plus, the value of the home was going down and the neighborhood was selling for $40,000 less than the purchase price. ANYWAY, I got his retirement money of 90K and he got the house. I think I did better.
    PS….Love your blog.

    1. You’re the exact reason why american men choose not to marry. Vindictive gold digger! Bragging about it too. You didn’t earn the retirement money.

      1. Screw you Jim, it’s called community property and if they had children then she probably damn sure sacrificed plenty so he was able to work and earn the retirement. Of course she earned it. The husband and wife are supposed to be a team unit. For whatever reason that unit was severed and assets and liabilities had to be divided. I’m taking it your probably a)lonely and not married or b)married and your wife is unhappily so. Big tough muff Jimbo spouting off; loser!!!!

      2. Jim,
        I’ve stated home for 6 years with our children, cooking, cleaning, doing the bills, the errands and much much more. When you divorce as im getting ready to go through with 3 children, you need financial comfort. Women deserve some type of community property wheather its retirement money, property etc. This is not gold digging. I could send my husband a bill for cleaning, daycare etc. It would total much more. Remember we make financial sacrifices as well. In my case staying home so my husband could work more. Had I worked it would of been a challenge for our life style with his career taking off. So really think about what your saying when you call women gold diggers.

        1. What is with you people always bringing the “cleaning bill” argument??
          First of all, people charge way more for cleaning…in west you people charge so much for this housework services. Those services are way over priced…How can a cleaning service, which doesn’t require brains of a rocket scientist and brawn of a miner charge so much?
          The reason cleaning services are able to charge so much isn’t because it required any special talent, but because there is just scarcity of people willing to do it…and if there isn’t any scarcity, then you people are stupid to pay so much money for it.
          Cleaning service (and not cleaning for your own family, there is a difference) is a job like pizza delivery or mcdonalds order guy, or a waiter, but bloody gets paid like a wall street trader.

          1. To any of you women supporting Kelly’s views, she is the reason men do not want to get married in 2016. (Just let that sink in) Any women who divorces and brags about taking his retirement money deserves cancer, and I do not care if that sounds harsh.

            Just LOL at marriage in 2016

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  5. I agree somewhat, but what happenens when you spend so much time and energy in trying to hold on to the property that it takes away from quality time better spent raisng your children? I understand that owning a home/property can empower single moms and may make sense in securing you financial future. On the other hand, I think that it’s equally improtant to realize when it’s time to move on and to be able to admit when it’s no longer feasable to keep investing. I was in a situation where I had to decide whether to keep our home or walk away. I chose to move knowing that my children would benifit more from spending time with me than seeing me struggle to fix broken bathrooms, mow lawns and solicit volunteers and neighbors to to help me maintain the grounds. I may not have lots of money in the future, but seriously doubt that there are many single moms out there these days that have the financial means to keep a home running on one income. As a single mom I chose to walk away from our home in the interest of living a less stressful existence and having a strong, loving, well rounded relationship with my children.

    1. Spot on Michelle. I watched my mom go emotionally bankrupt trying to keep the house when she got divorced. All we did was rake the yard, cut the grass, clean the gutters, etc. I lost my teenage years as instead of hanging out with my friends, I became a homeowner. No fun whatsoever.

      1. Got it how difficult it is to maintain a house??
        In divorce women get the children, because they are the one’s who gave them the birth…agreed… no one’s attached more to the child than a mother because she laid the foundation to that child…she bore him/her and therefore has the first right to the kid…but then same goes with the house…the father sees the house in the same light as the mother sees the child..not because the father doesn’t love his kid…but because the father has the same relation ship with the house as the mother has with the kid…the house is the result of fathers sweat and blood…you may say that it is the mother who cleans the house (assuming the father doesn’t help in the house)..but just like in mother kid relationship…the mother has laid the foundation…after that the father is there with the kid…in the same way..the father has laid the foundation for the house and the mother takes care of the house just like how the father take care of the kid…
        In summary,….in father mother kid relationship….write down the dynamics…and then
        in the father mother house relationship…the roles of father and mother get swapped and hte kid replaced by the house… and the dynamics will be the same as earlier…that should ideally be the situation…
        where there are no kids involved…the woman keeping the house is a bitch (assuming that she has no equity in the house…if she has then she should get her fair share)

  6. I don’t agree with this. Most wealthy men want the wife to keep the home that she ultimately will have to sell because they want to keep her hands off their precious retirement plan. Never overlook the value of the retirement plan. Your home will not support you when you retire. I plan to take half of both or some similar combination. If he can afford to buy me out and keep the home, great. I may have to downsize, but I will be far better off in 20 years.

  7. This is why men are refusing to marry. They know the odds are stacked against them, and apparently, none of you are to upset by it either.

    Love the articles by past child bearing years women though. Keep telling yourself that the reason you are single is because you are so much smarter than everyone else.

    I can’t wait for teh American government to try and raise bachelor taxes like Japan, because men have wizened up, and understand that marriage is a raw deal. That time is coming, and I can’t wait to see what happens to women like you.

    I will see you on the street, and laugh.

    1. Hey Basturd,
      Make sure to post your machismo ideas again, once you’ve “Wizened ” up!
      No doubt we’re all waiting to hear more from your pie hole!

  8. After being in relationship with my husband for nine years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is (LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM } tel.+2347053977842) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

  9. I am recently separated from my husband of only 4 yrs. but we have been together for a lot longer, & have been best friends for almost 26 yrs. He told me I had to the home & He was staying (keeping it). my finances while married were to a supplement to his paycheck. ( I made just to cover the mortgage) I could have made more buy picking up more shift that were offered to me, but didn’t because we wanted time to spend together. We have no children together. He has 3 daughters (he don’t have custody of) in the area & wants to keep the house. When I married him, I moved my whole life down to where the house is. I don’t want to walk away from the house. I have figured out ways to meet the financial aspect of keeping it, buy getting a room mate, and working more hours. I just don’t know how to go about it, (making the judge or whoever see my point). can you help me…

  10. Wow….so materialistic and gold digger like. Such a blanket statement that the woman *deserves* to keep the house. What if she never worked a day to pay the mortgage? She should keep the house because she cared for it by cleaning?? Would it be different if it was only rented?? Nope. So…why does a woman become entitled to keep a house simply because she *may* have a disadvantage financially? That’s even more reason to just sell the fregging house in a divorce. Terrible advice.

  11. Why doesn’t anyone ask the question of whose fault the divorce was? That should have an influence on the property division too.

      1. I do not agree with that. If one person “checks out” of the marriage after that person was repeatedly caught in lies involving financial infidelity and refuses to do the work to repair the damage, how does that validate your statement. Your statement that it ALWAYS takes two people 100% of the time is glib and condescending. Each situation is unique. Your reductionist thinking–both that statement and your blanket statement about a woman holding onto a house– is incorrect, ill-informed, and possibly harmful to those who would follow your advice.

      2. You are obviously unaware of what it’s like being married to an alcoholic and an abuser. A person married to a spouse like that can give their all. My husband cheated on me because he wanted a woman he could get drunk with. Sometimes a break down in a marriage IS due to one spouses problems. You are very narrow minded, and all situations are different.

          1. Wow. You are a TERRIBLE person, and one who doesn’t know much at that. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. I can’t believe you are offering advice to women. You should do yourself a favor and delete this site and NEVER EVER give women going through an already traumatic time, “advice.”

            You awful, awful, person.

      3. This is a false statement. This is exactly the kind of crap a guilty party peddles to justify their actions. What nonsense! It only takes one person to decide to get a divorce and the other spouse can do nothing if they have made their mind up. One person can definitely purposefully push another away. I know as I am married to a child masquerading as an adult.

  12. I don’t understand why the husband deserves to lose all the time. Its very scary to read some of these comments where the general mentality is “you deserve it,take him for everything he is worth.” I am currently going through a divorce. My wife told me she isn’t in love with me, doesn’t want to be married, and wants to go out and find what makes her happy. Ive done everything to buy our house and support our family yet I deserve to lose it all because someone had a change of heart? I have no family that house is the only place I have to live. My credit is to bad now to buy another and I couldn’t afford a house at the current market value after I pay child support.there is practically no equity in the home, we would both only have a pocket full of change if we sold. Why do I deserve to be completely ruined because my partner no longer feels the same way toward me? Because I am the evil nasty man in the picture?I say if you want out and to start a new life,that includes a new place. But please dont strip me of everything ive built and worked so hard for and leave me homeless broke and left to start my life over because “you.deserve.it”. I want her to find happiness, but the cost of that is me,the.husband to completely lose? My home,my daughter? My life? Because you feel entitled to a “new life starter kit”. Complete with a furnished home and a car.

    1. You know what….it is your fault…you deserve it….
      Infact I say…it’s all the men’s fault….you all wanted to be problem solver….innovators…you all wanted to make life more easy and simpler…so what you did??
      you went ahead and made jobs easy…made then less physical and more cushy…hell you all crib about corporate jobs and bad health…that’ because our jobs are hardly physically demanding….
      Women have advantage over men because they have the elusive gift of giving birth and continuing the human cycle….man had the gift of physical and mental superiority (well at an individual level in our day to day life, in our own little world we may know women stringer and smarter than men and vice versa may be stronger and smarter than a man…but overall, considering 700+ Billion people as a whole men are stronger and smarter than women)…
      Now you see women’s advantage of continuing the life cycle will never be squandered away…but men have squandered their advantage…so they will have to pay the price….

  13. Just saw this and had to comment. Our society is crazy and lopsided. Yes in the past the woman had less rights… Now its so lopsided marriage is just a way to punish men for marrying women. I am in an abusiuve relationship where they kids have been negatively impacted by a dangerous woman. I had a co-worker that was physically attacked by a drunk wife and when his kids called the police to get her off they arrested him because domestic violence is “always the mans fault.” Actually quote he was told. For a man to get custody of the kids the wife has to basically walk into the court room with a needle dangling from her arm. Also why do we justify legal robbery? Can a man sue a woman for alimony and get have her stuff? I have a female friend that makes 1 million a year and went through several divorces – I would love to really know how they came out. If you make so many laws giving so much benefit to one group over another – how long to you just admit we are not equal and women are weaker and inferior (I do NOT believe that just making a point).

    1. I 100% percent this POV — though of course every story has three sides. Law enforcement and courts re: divorce, alimony, child support, domestic violence can be very antiquated and favor women. I have written a lot about how alimony should be abolished — both genders not have amble opportunity to support themselves. Alimony only infantizes people — usually women, who of course are more likely to be recipients — and cases more animosity between co-parents.

  14. As a man once I get past this relationship I plan to never marry again and advise my children the same. At least without a prenuptial and even then they can be thrown out of court and depends on the state you live in.

    As far as the money thing why is a woman who met me AFTER all my sacrifice and pain in making my career entitled to half my money and alimony. I can live with child support but I have NO control over how that money is spent and doubt thy will go to the kids. As a result I am planning to find a way to cover their college fund on my own. My x is completely unreliable as well as unstable. When I went to my marriage counselor pretty soon the advice from her was that I might have to leave this situation that it was kind of hopeless, Apparenlty I married a borderline personality – feels like they are a lot more common than I thought….. I am actually a very kind man and took care of my family. I have had many opportunities to stray and chose to be faithful. The joke here is I had been a scumbag we would have broke up earlier and I would have suffered less in the divorce. Nice guys do finish last. Than you ladies…

  15. Horrible, scheming women…

    It’s obvious now there is no actual point in getting married. But, guys – there is a way to get these nasty little predators back at their own game…

    An asset protection trust will secure your assets, and hide them from the divorce courts. If you get the right one (think of remote desert islands, hint hint), she will not be able to take anything away from you as it will be held and protected by the trust.

    In that case, you could go into a marriage, she won’t bother to sign a prenup by default – they never do; SHE WILL BE LIABLE, and NOT YOU. Therefore if SHE has a business, property or house – you will be able to TAKE THOSE FROM HER. Because, even though you may not have added to them at all, they are still rightfully yours.

    “In hindsight I realize I walked away from a lot of money that was rightfully mine.”

    >>rightfully
    >>WTF – Lazy Scrounging Bitch!

  16. Wow I can not believe women could be so evil. I can not comprehend how can you women live with yourselves knowing you are basically stealing what (in most cases) belongs to men who were the ones busting their nuts paying for their own personal retirement and their damn house. I just hope that your very own sons meet and marry women like yourselves and take your sons to the cleaners themselves and take everything your sons worked so hard for. I hope your own sons get fimancially raped by women like yourselves and that you get to see your little boys grow up, getting married and then divorced, penniless, homeless and ruined in every aspect of their by selfish, greedy, malicious women exactly like yourselves and I hope you all enjoy your own sons missery, thats if they dont kill themselves after divorcing their woman.

    I hope my son never get married ever!!! Damn unjust laws and damn opportunist modern feminist women with no ethics, no morals, no values, no consience. No man should ever marry a women. They should work on their own and EARN the only thing thats trully rightfully theirs, their own paycheck!!!

    My wife of almost 20 years and I have 3 kids. I worked very hard since a teenager and bought my wife(i cringe everytime I call her that) a house. After a few years my dad offered me to trade me his bigger nicer house for mine since he was living by himself and wanted me to have his house and did so before he passed away 3 years ago. Now my wife(cringe) cheated on me with an ex hs boyfriend and now she will probably get rewarded for being a cheating unfaithful slut by getting my house(which I bought with my own hard earned money and then traded by my father), my pension, alimony, child suppport, my money. That is not justice. Thats financial rape for men. Women are evil. Dont marry guys. Dont do it. Is not worth it.

    Like someone commented earlier here before, that the wife lived, cleaned or occupied the house does not makes it unmorally arrogantly “rightfully hers”. Particularly when like in my case and in many other cases the women did not invest anything on it. She wouldve done the same if it was a rented house while enjoying the benefits of living in it!!! The majority are nothing but gold digger sluts

    1. Please do not perpetuate simplistic, reductionist thinking and negative stereotypes by painting with a broad brush about men, women, marriage, and divorce. There are good, trustworthy, and conscientious individuals out there. Please try to find one, and strive to be the same.

  17. There are several things to consider when deciding whether to keep a home in a divorce. If you cannot afford the home, it could mean financial ruin later. If keeping the home means giving up your retirement, which will provide future income (the home will not), it may not make sense. Each situation is different. I’ve read through some of the other comments and see other situations when it was not the right decision to keep the home for some. I see you sometimes agree with those comments. But the title of your article is off-putting. It assumes a woman should always keep the home and she is stupid if she does not, no matter what. I almost didn’t even read this post because of the title. And I assumed you were uneducated about this topic by making the statement in your title. Just my opinion, but I really hate the title. I think you could have done better.

  18. Hello.
    Another story.
    My husband (ex now) wanted a divorce but instead of stating this, did what some men do: resigned himself to being married without actually being married.
    I asked to go to a Christian couples counselor. For five years. He said no, and I felt guilty for asking. (Simplest way to show our personal dynamic).
    After 5 years of this, I asked for a separation. We separated within the home (separate rooms) and he (privately) consulted some aggressive attorneys. He began to tell me I needed to leave the home, that it would not be financially feasible for me to stay, that he could support the home and I could not, that separation means divorce. He used pie charts and spread sheets to demonstrate his point.

    I think it is important to state that when a wife depends on her husband’s point of view, she often listens to his reasons as though they are fact. Men and women are equally emotion driven. It may show differently, but when the underlying message is, “I will lose if you don’t do x,y.z.” It is emotion driven reasoning. Convincing another to do what you need them to has limited staying power.

    After 15 months, I moved out of our home and secured a rental that would support myself and our child with our agreed intent to jointly care for her through this separation.
    He then promptly sued me for abandonment, went to our church leaders and claimed falsehoods, joined Facebook and friended my family and friends, and sued for sole custody. Along with this our entire savings was “moved” to his account.

    I am writing this to all the women who made every possible mistake in their divorce because they did not realize, or accept, they were getting a divorce.

    I am writing this to all the men who are weighing in from MGTOW or who feel injured and so want to continue the cycle of injury instead of examining their own role in the breakdown of their marriage.

    My former spouse nearly gained full custody because he had secured the means to retain an immensely aggressive and unethical divorce attorney, and I did not think to do this.

    I held on for my life, cancelled the trial in the midst of it, and signed whatever was put in front of me.

    Courts are not hospitable to women or men. Roll the dice and see what you get. Children are sacrificed at the altar of judge’s and hurt spouse’s egos.

    I am renting and have no idea how/when home ownership will ever occur.
    I lost my reputation because of complete lies that he spread.
    I nearly lost access to our child because he sued for it, and I did not think to ask for this.
    Renting in our school district takes 70% of my income.
    If I move outside our district, he could continue to portray me as he wishes, unable to provide, etc while he remains, in our home, stable and financially able because he made this his number one goal, regardless of consequences.

    There is a spiritual moral to this tale.

    He got everything he wanted: the house, a new love interest whom he woos with stolen savings, a custody split that he can’t keep up with but that gives him minimum financial responsibility, and finally, the feeling that he was wronged, that he was left. In holding tightly to this version of the tale, he does not have to examine the injury he is capable of causing.

    I am not blameless. I am half of this couple, now bound forever by our child. I asked for counseling. I asked for a separation. I am the initiator.
    I accept my part. I have spoken my part to him. It is what I can do.

    The spiritual moral: he is as deeply unhappy as he was before. I am barely above the poverty line, and have found peace not because of or in spite of my circumstances, but because I needed to find it.
    Our child, when she needs to weep or break down, does not do so with the one who buys her everything.
    She brings her broken heart to me.

    He is building a new family and is still angry, still searching for the things around him, to profess his worth.

    At the end of the day, it will never come from a house. Or a marriage. When all of us comprehend this to the core of our being, we won’t need to cling to things or people as though they are our only lifeline.

    Everything passes except the one solid security, whatever you want to call That. Every other happiness or grief or sadness passes.

    A house crumbles.

    A spouse leaves.

    I am not at peace because my marriage crumbled. I am finding peace, and joy, because all I had identified as part of my worth were set on fire (financial security, someone I thought was in it for the entire ride, my reputation, my religious and moral standing). Those things are ashes, and I am here and can say: there is nothing to make you more real than to see all you thought was your Self literally decimated.

    It is freeing.

    I hope he finds peace. I am given the gift to see that neither of us had the capability to make or break the other’s joy. We give a lot of credence to Marriage, but in the end, it will crumble under such undue weight. It was never supposed to be our saving grace. Neither was the house. Neither was any of the things we thought would save us.

    Peace.

    1. Hello It takes two,
      I am so touched by your post because I am going through a separation that seems to be heading toward divorce. I have been married to my soon to be ex-husband for 27 years. i had been in a childhood environment that was quite negative for my self esteem. And to be fair, so was my husband. We came together as fractured people, victims of verbal, mental, and physical abuse. I thought that our love was enough to get us through, but sadly he didn’t think so. I had been a submissive wife, a product of my father’s abusive, controlling ways. I enabled him by meeting all his needs when we were first married. Then we had children, and i admit that i spent a lot of time with them, because i wanted them to have everything that i didn’t get. I was able to work part-time and still maintain the household with a lot of hard work and good time management. Apparently he had lied to me about his sexual addiction from the beginning. At the start of trouble, I asked him to go to counseling. But he is very manipulative, so he got me to quit. As the children grew older, i had a little more time for myself. But to my surprise, I found out that he had multiple internet affairs with women all over the US and one in particular in puerto rico that he had cyber sex with for 2 years. i was devastated and sought counseling. but he refused saying that it didn’t count as an affair since he didn’t physically have it. And called it flirting. The children were still in middle school, so i did not separate at that time. But recently, he had an affair with a coworker and continued to chat with her and text her while i thought we were going through couples and then individual counseling. The course of 5months from the discovery of the affair and to the point where he finally confessed, was hell on earth for me. I could no longer continue so i asked him to leave. I thought that we would separate to cool off , but as soon as he left, he took out 200$ from an atm near his mistress’s house. So i can relate to the countless lies that you have endured, and i feel for you. Please know that you in GOD’s eyes are worthy and loved. All the materialistic things he has can’t change the miserable person that i am sure he feels inside, despite what he presents to others on the outside. My counselor, who happens to be his counselor said to me that he had difficulty with intimacy, and that he really is an unhappy person despite his need to replace that intimacy with his sexual desires. My
      ex is a handsome, charming man on the outside, but deep down he is suffering. I can no longer help him, because my heart has been broken so many times. But with my faith in Jesus, he gives me strength to endure this hardship and i hope that we both are rewarded in heaven for staying true to ourselves and always keeping hope and peace in our hearts.
      Stay strong, and hold tight to that freedom and peace within.
      v

  19. Greed of the women because the system is so out of date with the times … Just because the women gives birth to s child doesn’t make them the only parent .. But the courts still favour the women and screw the man

  20. I the man. I kept the house for two reasons. One, the market was bad 3 years ago and we owed what it was worth. And Two, I wanted stability for my son. This is the only house he knew. He had friends on the neighborhood. I didn’t want to uproot him. He is with me half the time. A little more actually but half as far as nights go. The problem is the house is too big for just us two. I was trying to think what was best for me son. He is 12 now. 9 when we divorced. But at least it is worth more now as the market has recovered.

  21. Just question Emma, i have been married for 8 years and i just recently decided to divorce however i 4 months ago i was approved for a bond and i am worried this divorce might affect it. He is unemployed for almost 5 years now. I have not move in to the house yet because it is currently being build. I have 2 kids and i am worried about them as well. When i signed for the house finance i did it alone because i was worried that his credit record will affect me. I had to say i am single. Please advise how i can go about this situation.

  22. Hello Emma,

    I was married for only 4yrs and trying to settle my divorce. I have full custody of our 3yr old child and reside in the marital home. After reading your article, and listening to friends and advice from my divorce lawyer, I am strongly considering buying out my ex. I’m a foreigner, so my neighborhood and house have become my home, and my neighbors my new family. I can’t tell you how they have been there for me during this tumultuous time. I actually cried tonight thinking of where I will go if I have to leave this house/neighborhood. There is a lot of equity in my home………a 500k mortgage, house worth 1million. House is located in a wealthy neighborhood that doesn’t typically depreciate. Because I supplied the downpayment for the home prior to marriage, my buyout is about 150k (on top of assuming the mortgage). Also, in a top school district. Problem is that I also have student loan debt of around 120k. I have a decent job, making 130k a year (before taxes!). My credit score is average now because of the divorce. I don’t want to rely on the 2500/month in child support since he’s self-employed and I can guarantee that he’s going to screw me around with that. Do you think it’s wise I keep the house? Interested in your opinion.

    1. How easily can you afford the house if you do buy him out?
      And how will you feel about staying in a house you used to share with him?

  23. Thank you for your speedy reply, Emma. I thought a lot about the situation today since I had a couple of ‘back and forths’ between our lawyers. My ex was an abuser emotionally and physically, and I’m dealing with a narcissist. It is clear that he will continue to try and manipulate me any way he can, and that will include withholding child support and whatever else he can. So I really must put myself in a position where I can be self-sufficient and safe. I only feel safe right now because I have a temporary order of protection. Your simple reply combined with my interactions today made me arrive at the conclusion that I can make a new life in a new home that I can afford on my own, find another pretty decent school district (it’s also about what you as a parent invest in your child, right?), and I’m pretty outgoing so I will make new friends. Thank you for the food for thought. Now to find a bank that will give me a loan……I’m in NYC. Any banks easier than others?

  24. Ending a long term marriage is never easy. Untangling finances and property requires tough decisions when you are dealing with a cascade of emotions.

    I was married 25 years. I moved all over the country for my spouse’s career. I worked and put him through school. I am the mother of his children and I cared for our family because my husband wanted me to put his career first.

    Divorce was not my choice. My spouse chose to blow up our lives and cash out his retirement for a woman 20 years younger. He chose to leave us and move out of state. The consequences of those choices resulted in spousal support and child support. I am not being greedy. When someone breaks a contract there are consequences.

    As for the house I kept it and the equity. It was a wise business move. You love someone and trust them and make decisions based as a couple. When those rules no longer apply I should not have to explain why I should receive compensation. There are no winners but a spouse has earned compensation that is fair. Sometimes fair is equal and sometimes fair is not equal.

    Keeping the house is not a one size fits all solution but you shouldn’t discount the long term benefits or liabilities in your situation.

  25. I dated this woman for about two years and from day one she began talking about marriage. Wanting to go shopping and show me wedding rings and not cheap ones. After two months of dating she began to get angry with me because I didn’t seem interested in her marriage conversation. Well duh!!! Two months in?!?!? So without notice she ran off. Unheard from for 5 months. Suddenly she decides to come back and when I show her no affection she gets pissy. Uhhhh you left me not the other way around. I worked in music industry. Retired now enjoying life in my 40s flying planes and jumping from them. Well eventually we talked and I carefully decided I would try to work it out. I went back on tour. The main reason I didn’t want a girlfriend was because I’m normally gone months at a time up to 10 months with only short stops home. She as most women do worked her magic and wiggled her way into my home. I had just purchased a new luxury home in a very nice neighborhood. I let her move in and days later I was gone. We talked often while I was on the road. Didn’t have FaceTime back in 2003. The bands singer got a serious sickness that stopped our tour and we all went home to rest and let him heal. I made it home and had my father pick me up at the airport. He drove me home and I walked inside my home. Went to my bedroom and there she was laying on the bed getting drove by some guy. Then the guy has the nerve to tell me to get the F out of my own house. Uhhh. Really?!? I attacked him and dragged him out of my house. Then kicked her out and threw her stuff out. Told him to take the sl*t with him. Turns out he was married and she had no where to go. Not my problem. She expected me to pay for her to get a room and later an apartment. Again not my problem.

    I never cheated. I let her live in my fancy home. She drove my BMW. Swam in my pool. And the thanks I got was her in my bed with another man. Later I find out she is heavily into swinging which she never told me about and that she enjoys meeting strange men for sex and sending them on their way.

    Although I know all women aren’t bad like this but it has tarnished my experience with women. I don’t care to marry. This same woman I’m speaking of got married and for the last 10 years or so has been cheating on her husband with a few men. I’m not one of them. She’s a friend in Facebook. I found it interesting she sent me a request so I accepted her so I could see the interesting life she seems to lead. So her husbands grandmother passed and she posted on FB saying “she’s finally gone we are RICH” once he secured his inheritance recently she has filed for divorce and wants the house, child support for two kids one isn’t his and his inheritance. I don’t know how all that works but she keeps posting that she is entitled to all of it because she is a SAHM.

    I will never commit to a woman and I don’t care about having a child with anyone. I have adopted my friends daughter since he and his wife were killed. She is an adult and was allowed to do adult adoption. So as far as being a father I am fine with what I have. Just be weary my fellow men. Women will love you and one day the switch will turn off and they will want everything you worked so hard for. I do believe women are entitled to a settlement as marriage is a union but to expect a man to cater to a lifestyle you want without work and luxury isn’t fair. It’s sad that many women will cheat and get awarded so much as if they won. 3 of my friends have gone through divorce and all 3 are severely struggling even though they work really good career jobs. One makes 6 figures and his ex wife leaves him broke. She makes him pay for everything and none of the child support goes towards the kids.

  26. I just wanted to say – in the light of some of the stuff here – I do not want to hurt my husband or end up with more than him. We don’t have much – run down little house with £100k still to pay. He earns more than me, left me 2 years ago, after 25 years of marriage, for another woman and did not give me money towards the support of our 2 teenage children subsequently.

    I pay all bills, mortgage etc and make sure children have as much stability and support as I can muster.

    I now have to go to court to split the assets, which is an unknown thing because whilst he earns nearly twice as me he says he is broke.

    All I want is for us to end up with an outcome that is fair to both. I realise that may mean neither have the house. I am 51. He is 52. The whole thing is ripping me apart – but I never want more than him – neither do I want less. It’s like a horrible game of poker!

  27. I left with my kids and nothing more.
    He kept the house because I thought “If I cant do this alone, I’ll let the kids go live with their father and I’ll struggle on my own.” But I left him the house and moved one mile away under the condition that he stay in the children’s life. He didn’t have to pay child support. After a while he stopped calling them. He stopped picking them up. The house turned into a party house.
    He didn’t want to give me their things. He got into drugs. He still has the house alone, and my children and I are in a cramped apartment. After almost a year of separation I’m going to see if I can get my kids back into their home permanently.

  28. Creative discussion . I was enlightened by the insight – Does someone know if my assistant might grab a template VA VSA 17A form to edit ?

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