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How building a dream home could impact divorce

A recent divorce-related piece in the New York Observer discusses real estate in the great city. Though Boston isn't NYC, there is still most definitely a high-end real estate market. No matter where couples marry, build families and create homes, there are those who pursue building their "dream home" together.

For many in Boston, creating a dream home means finding a place in the heart of the city, perhaps a place with old Boston charm, and then putting a hefty investment into fixing it up. Creating the home of a couple's dreams might cost that couple more than money. Why could a big real estate flip cost a couple their marriage?

Various brokers, real estate professionals and divorced parties contributed to the piece about home renovations and divorce. They suggest the following regarding how and why remodeling real estate could mean there's divorce in a family's future:

  • Taking on the big, expensive project of creating a family's dream house could be a last effort of trying to create a happy situation. The visions of a brighter, more open, updated space can create false hope that a remodeled home could make for a remodeled relationship. When even a brand new space still feels tainted by an unhappy marriage, couples know it is over.
  • A home remodel can create a lot of stress within a marriage. There are numerous big and tedious decisions to be made such as the layout, wall colors and even the pattern of the third bathroom's floor tiles. Financial matters create stress, too. Maybe one spouse doesn't want to put a price tag on his or her real estate dream while the other just sees more and more money being drained out of their savings.

If a big renovation does somehow convince someone or a couple that they need to renovate their lives through a divorce, a family law attorney can explain the basic legal process to them. There are specific property division issues, too, for parties to address who have just bought and/or remodeled real estate. Now that a family home is all updated and new, one or both parties might fight over who gets to stay in it. A divorce attorney is important in that battle.

 

Source: New York Observer, "Until Decorating Do Us Part: When Renovations End in Divorce," Kim Velsey, March 12, 2014

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