Is holding on to an expensive marital home worth it?

Deciding what to do with your marital home is an issue you will likely have to resolve in your upcoming divorce. For various reasons, like sentiment or the desire to raise your children in the house they grew up in, you might want to keep the marital home after your divorce. However, you might find that holding on to your marital home cost you a lot more than you bargained for. 

Homes require upkeep, so depending on how large your house is, you may have a lot of bills to pay on the home. The burden of keeping up an expensive home can sometimes be too much for a parent with a single income. Business Insider explains the various costs generated by an expensive home. 

Utilities 

Paying utility bills is par for the course for any homeowner, but if your home is large in size, you will have to pay a lot more than the average homeowner. A bigger home means you need to pay more to provide it with electricity, heat, or cool air. If you own a large residence like a mansion, you may end up with utility bills of up to $3,000 each month. 

Landscaping 

Many homeowners like to keep up a good curbside appeal with a nicely maintained front yard or façade. However, very expensive homes can have large grounds that require a lot of landscaping. Wealthy homes with a lot of land can require $100,000 each year just to maintain the grounds. This does not take into account repairs that you might need if a storm or hurricane should damage your property. 

Security 

If you own an expensive home, you may want security for your property. The size of your property, as well as the value of your home assets, will likely dictate the need for an expensive security system. You might use a video surveillance system to cover your property, or perhaps drones as well. Security for a major estate can rack up major costs, sometimes thousands of dollars. 

Some people can afford to maintain a large home even after a divorce. You might work out a solution with your spouse to continue to maintain the home. As an alternative, you might agree to sell off the home and divide up the assets. Ultimately, the decision to hold on to a marital home depends upon your personal priorities and how you will view your financial picture following your divorce. 

Depression and approaching the divorce process

For those who struggle with negative emotions such as depression, daily life is a challenge in many ways. Sometimes, finding the energy to get through another work day or take care of other responsibilities is overwhelming. However, those who get a divorce have even greater hurdles to overcome and there is often a lot at stake (such as how the custody of children is awarded, which depression can also affect).

If you have depression, it is imperative to prepare for your divorce. Moreover, the collaborative process is often helpful for people facing these hardships. Working with a spouse (as opposed to navigating through a heated divorce) helps reduce emotional strain.

Finding motivation

Sometimes, people with depression need to find sources of motivation to work through their divorce properly. Parents who are struggling with negative emotions should think about their children, not only in terms of their relationship with their kids but a child’s well-being. Our law office knows that dealing with family law matters while depressed is tough and for some people, even the idea of filing for divorce seems overwhelming. Unfortunately, some people who struggle with depression continue to stay in marriages that will never work out (and even abusive relationships, in some instances).

Children and other factors

If you struggle with depression, this is another reason why it is imperative to address the emotional hurdles you are facing and prepare for your divorce. Moreover, some people who are facing these emotions have difficulty with property division or even discussing their situation with a legal professional. If you have these emotional barriers, try to stay positive. We cover other divorce-related topics.

What to do after your divorce is final

So much changes in your life before, during, and after your divorce that it can be tough to keep up with everything. However, once the court finalizes your divorce and the smoke clears, there are a few things you still need to do. 

Here are your next steps after the judge signs your final order. 

Store documents safely 

Secure your divorce documents in a safe deposit box or home safe. Post-dissolution issues come up every so often, so you may need these records in the future should an issue arise. 

Change your tax status 

Talk to your accountant about the change to your tax status. The divorce paperwork should define which parent can claim any dependents on their tax returns, or if claiming the children alternates between parents each year. Speak to your tax accountant about how this and your new “single” status will affect your taxes. 

Update your will 

Make any necessary changes to your will. Many people fail to do this because they think they have time, so they put it off until later. But this is a task that is very easy to forget, so make the changes now if you do not want your ex-spouse to be your beneficiary when the time comes. 

Follow directives  

Take care of anything you are responsible for immediately after the divorce. For instance, if the final order dictates that you pay certain debts or sell certain assets, do it as soon as possible. Again, you do not want to forget because failure to follow the judge’s orders can harm you in any subsequent proceedings that may arise over the years. 

Keep it friendly 

Stick to the parenting plan and work as amicably as possible with your co-parent. Cooperation is almost always in your children’s best interest. In addition, working with your former spouse in a friendly way when transferring children or attending events will help to establish more harmony in all of your lives. 

Gaining perspective: Should SAHMs get half the marital property?

As an equitable distribution state, Florida divides property equitably during a divorce. What this means is that the judge will consider each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and divvy up assets, money, property and debt accordingly. When both parties work, the property distribution process is fairly straight forward. However, when one parent is a stay-at-home parent, the working party may question the SAHP’s interest in the marital property. If you are the working party in your relationship and struggle with the idea that half the marital property will go to your stay-at-home-spouse, consider what one report from Motherly has to say. 

Estimated average salary for a stay-at-home parent  

As Motherly so eloquently puts it, no parent chooses to stay at home for the paycheck. However, if SAHMs were to earn a salary, the amount would be on par with what CEOs earn. According to the latest available data from Salary.com, which Motherly shares, stay-at-home parents put in approximately 96 hours of work per week, which equates to a paycheck of upwards of $162,581. This figure is up $5,000 from last year’s calculations. 

The work of SAHMs 

Salary.com came up with its estimation after polling thousands of moms regarding the tasks they perform on a daily basis. Those include the typical tasks such as laundry and grocery shopping, and the not-so-typical responsibilities, such as party planning and acting as the family’s unofficial CEO. 

Motherly cites findings from another survey, this one conducted by Insure.com. Per the findings, the most time-consuming chores include cooking (14 hours per week), driving (nine hours per week) and childcare (40 hours per week). All the other miscellaneous tasks account for an additional 40 hours of work for the stay-at-home parent. 

3 ways to prepare yourself for divorce mediation

While ending your marriage is apt to change your life, your divorce does not have to be an all-out war. On the contrary, you likely have the option to proceed with a collaborative divorce. With this approach, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse work together to divide property, settle custody matters or otherwise address divorce issues. 

There are a few ways to have a collaborative divorce. Commonly, though, couples choose divorce mediation. This process, which is often cheaper and faster than traditional court proceedings, involves using a third-party mediator to reach an acceptable agreement. Here are three ways to prepare yourself for divorce mediation: 

  1. Commit to the process

Arguably, the most important thing you can do to prepare for divorce mediation is to commit to the process. That is, you must be certain mediating your divorce is the right course of action. You also must recognize the collaborative nature of the mediation process. As such, keep an open mind and operate on good faith. 

  1. Identify your priorities

Before showing up to mediation, think critically about your goals. For example, you may want to keep the house in exchange for giving your spouse other assets. When identifying your priorities, it may help to make a list of everything you and your spouse jointly own. You may also want to prepare a post-divorce budget to give you a realistic idea of the financial resources you need to live comfortably. 

  1. Get some help

Even though mediation is often a better alternative to a court battle, the process can be confusing. Accordingly, you could need some help navigating it. By working with the right professionals, you likely increase your chances of having a successful mediation. 

Even though your marriage is coming to an end, you do not want to waste time, money or effort on a protracted court fight. Fortunately, mediation may offer a ready solution. Getting the most out of your mediation, though, requires some effort.