Houses are one of the most complicated assets involved in a divorce. Often the symbol of the strength of a relationship, moving out of your matrimonial home is a huge moment that begins a long line of questions about who retains what and where you’re going in life. If you don’t act quickly, the home you choose after a divorce can become a huge albatross around your neck that weighs down your future prospects.
In this article, we’ll discuss why the home you choose after divorce matters so much and what important steps you can take to make sure you make the right decision.
Here’s Why the Home You Choose After Divorce is So Important
It’s a Fresh Start
While divorces can be extremely painful, they also offer the opportunity for a fresh start.
The home you choose to settle into is a huge part of making this new chapter a success. It’s difficult to approach life differently when you’re staying in the same house as your ex, haunted by the memories of what went wrong in your relationship.
For some people, divorce and the events leading up to one can result in deep trauma, making the need to move into a new property a necessity. As Movers Development has covered, moving homes can actually have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health and belief in relationships. This is worth bearing in mind before making drastic decisions about a fresh start post-divorce.
A house is a great way to create a sense of separation from your life pre- and post-divorce. It’s an opportunity to explore new passions and interests through control of your own decor, accessories, and lifestyle.
Houses can remind you of the past or be a mark for the future. To move on from your divorce, focus on the latter.
Your Employment and Lifestyle May be Very Different
It’s not uncommon for a divorce to be a major catalyst for a change in lifestyle.
From your job to your friends to your exercise routine, every little inch of your life changes when your relationship ends. That’s easy to understand. You’ve likely spent the last few years building your schedule and relationships around your partner and, in light of the divorce, will have to find out who you are, what makes you tick, and how you can survive in new circumstances.
Homes are not just places you eat and sleep in, but a reflection of your personality and lifestyle.
The involvement of children further complicates your housing situation. If you have custody, you’ll need to create a child-friendly environment where they can grow, learn, and feel comfortable. If you only have them a few times a month, you need to offer these things without leaving empty space in your new life when they’re not around.
We recommend checking out the Our Family Wizard guide to making children feel comfortable in two homes as part of your new lifestyle and theirs.
Your divorce may have forced you to move to a new town and into a new job. Your finances may no longer be as strong as they once were as part of a couple, forcing you to consider the following costs for the first time:
- Renting costs after a mortgage
- The cost of child support and care
- Child transportation costs
- Additional bills, taxes, and travel expenses
Location is Everything
When it comes to the home you choose, location is everything. That’s the same whether you’re buying your first family home or looking for a fresh start after a divorce.
There are lots of logistical issues to consider after a divorce, particularly if children are involved. If you’re living in the same town or city as before, it’s not as big of an issue. However, if you choose to move out of town, city or province, it can make seeing your children and other relatives much more difficult. Whether you maintain a good relationship with your ex-spouse or not, this is a difficult reality.
Likewise, the same can be said for your job. You might want to get far away from everything, but there are a lot more formalities to leaving a job than leaving a relationship. Think carefully when picking a location for your new residence. Can you still commute to work? Are the public transport links there? Could working from home be a long-term solution?
Of course, when it comes to real estate, location doesn’t just dictate the kind of home you can buy but the people you can work with. Say you’re moving to Ottawa. You may not be able to use your usual moving guys or access the same local knowledge when house hunting. Consider using respected online services such as Breezeful, which offers insight into mortgage rates in Ottawa alongside other major Canadian towns and cities to help you learn about and find an affordable space in your new location.
It’s easy to think things will stay the same after a divorce, but the act of moving just an extra half hour away can make it difficult to maintain friendships and keep up with your hobbies. From your healthcare to your shopping routine, you built your life around your married home, and now you need to think carefully about your new one.
What Happens to a House After a Divorce?
To close off this article, we’ll take a quick look at what happens to a house when a couple divorces in Canada. Hopefully, these points will provide guidance to anyone looking to move out after a divorce who might be worried about the financials of their situation.
In simple terms, after a divorce, the following applies to a house:
- Houses are considered assets that are split equally between the two parties (this can differ from province to province).
- Spouses are entitled to half of the matrimonial home, even if it was purchased prior to the marriage.
- Both spouses have equal rights to remain in the property.
- You are entitled to this even if you no longer live in the home following separation, as long as you continue to contribute to running costs (i.e. taxes).
- Selling, renting or mortgaging a property requires the approval of both parties.
Your post-divorce home will be one of the most important purchases you make, whether you re-enter the property market or decide to rent somewhere new for a little bit. It’s not just a case of how many bedrooms you have, but the lifestyle that surrounds it and how it suits your new financial situation. Think long and hard about your next decision, as it will impact all your future homes for years to come.
Ade Labinjo is co-founder of Breezeful, an online mortgage broker based in Canada. Breezeful gets you the best mortgage online from start to close, negotiating with hundreds of lenders on your behalf in seconds. www.breezeful.com