HouseI put my “marital residence” on the market upon filing for divorce.  It sat there for months without a bright red SOLD sign on it.   I tidied the entire house for numerous showings, which I can assure you with two small children is no slight feat.  I received multiple offers on the property – all of which I was financially unable to accept.  My daughters and I have perpetually been uncertain about where we would be living in the next 60 days.   All while going through a divorce. 

With the decline in the housing market and the depressed economy, we have seen new challenges in the divorce arena.  Many families are upside down on their mortgages, or find themselves in a situation where one spouse simply cannot afford the house on only one income.  Then there is the market holding onto the houses longer than ever before.

For divorcing couples this presents a rock and a hard place as the only viable options.  In addition to the already present emotional, financial and physical strain of divorce, the housing situation compounds that by keeping unhappy couples in houses together longer than they wish or keeps their finances linked after a separation.  Deciding whether to keep a residence or not is a huge decision that impacts your children, your finances, your relationships with existing neighbors and friends, your commute and your overall happiness.  Facing this decision unexpectedly due to divorce adds tremendous stress.

So how to get through.  Clean a closet.  De-clutter and drop off a donation to the Goodwill.  Paint the front door.  Do small things to contribute to the selling of your house.  Stay in action.  It will keep you focused and feeling useful.  It will instill a sense of control over this overwhelming situation that is largely beyond your control.  And surprisingly it will help you grieve the loss of your house.

If it sounds like I am oversimplifying, then try it.   Think of your biggest worry, fear or problem.  Take it to your closet.  Start cleaning, sorting, purging.  Notice how long you just spent thinking about that problem and whether you felt better after completing your task.  I would bet your energy will be improved, your thoughts will be clearer and you will have a couple more items that will lead to more action and to controlling your negative situation in a positive way.

Angela Dunne

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