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Relocation Therapy in Divorce

People going through divorce often consider remaining in the marital home. Two areas of concern one must consider in making the decision are (1) the financial aspect and (2) the emotional aspect.

Financially, one needs to determine if there is equity in the marital home and if one party has the ability to refinance the debt in one's own name. Interest rates are historically low (2012 - 2013) but so is the value of many homes.  One must also decide if one person can financially cover the expenses in the home, based upon income and any support paid or received.

The emotional aspect is very important as well. A phenomenon known as "Retail Therapy" is used as a method to deal with a bad day in the office, after an argument or other minor crisis. But people who go through more substantial life crisis - death of a loved one, illness or divorce - may need "Real Estate Therapy" or "Relocation Therapy" to aid in the pain from the crisis.

Under certain circumstances, changing your home can bring about positive results. There are second marriages where the new couple is burdened psychologically by living in the same home that had been occupied by a former spouse. Staying in a former marital domicile means staying where "we renovated it together, we decorated it together, we had family parties together" There are constant reminders of the old relationship.

There are benefits for a person deciding that now he or she will not remain in the home, but he/she will triumph by living a fresh new life in a fresh new environment. This is a bet on the future without the baggage of reminders of the former spouse around the house. A new environment can be painted in her colors, his wallpaper and filled with his/her people. A new residence can signal a new beginning, a new life and shake off the pain of the old and failed relationship.

There is no one right answer and obviously, when minor children are involved, other subjects arise including remaining in a school district and determine whether the children need to remain in the house for specific reasons.

Steven Hirsch can work with you to determine your best interest and whether you can financially remain in the marital domicile.

Source: The New York Times, "Relocation Therapy", Joanne Kaufman, January 4, 2013

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