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Divorce & Downsize

Gelly

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So this is more of an intense update since my last couple blogs.

As the title of this entry implies... We are getting a divorce. I'm not going to go into it in loads of detail here, but it's something that needed to happen (regardless of how happy we may have appeared) and the decision will likely benefit both of us in the long term. We are being amicable, he still lives in the house today but we have a deadline date set for him to be moved-out by (Saturday June 3rd). He has plans to move his stuff (which is 90% of the furniture in the house) to a storage barn at his aunt's house and likely move in with her for now too. As far as splitting everything - it's been very clean and fair. Everything was either in his or my name already, we did not share loans/deeds/etc so there literally is nothing to fight over. No kids certainly made this easier too. All papers are signed, court date is in July and no lawyers are being involved.

 

I told him that as long as he lives in the house, that it is only fair he keeps contributing to the bills/expenses as he always has. And that when he moves out I will take over; and we will go to the credit union and separate our bank account at the time that he moves out. He has been agreeable to all of this and since this process started nearly a month ago, he has not done anything shady like hide money, hold back his paychecks, refuse to contribute, etc.

 

I am taking this life change as an opportunity to further, or pursue my desires to downsize/minimize and reduce my financial overhead - considerably.

I have run a sample budget assuming running the show with just my income - and it's doable, just shrinks my snowball a little. Obviously some existing expenses would no longer exist, and others would shrink such as grocery, gas & car insurance line items. But I would like to look into selling the house.

Keeping a 3bd/2.5ba 1490Sqft house for myself and my 2 cats is pretty ridiculous. Home prices in my area have soared since I bought in 2013. A lot of trees across the road were cleared since I purchased, a church was built actually, which opened up the waterfront view quite decently. The house was appraised in December last year (I was going to refi to 15 or 20yr loan, but that fell through) and the appraised value was $235k - I bought for $165k.

 

I know that I can't make any big decisions until after the divorce is final. But I am extremely confident that me staying in the house isn't the best plan. Should I hold off on conversing with realtors or doing any research until the divorce is final? Or is it OK to look into things this early? My vision or dream for the future, ultimately, is currently to downsize to a (used) 5th wheel or towable home, and put it on a slice of land in my area that I could build on down the road. Also, I would love to travel.

 

I have been avoiding spending a ton of time at home because it's become a little more awkward since he and I still share the home. I visit friends and family & have upped my time spent at work and doing workouts at the studio after work, so I spend a bit less time actually at the house. Just keeping really, really busy, basically. So I am fine, I have a wonderful, huge support circle, and for the most part, the people in my life that matter to me understand what is happening. I guess I am just in a place where I want to make decisions but it's just too soon for me to be able to... So the only thing I can do is take it day by day!?



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Sorry it has come to this.  I could live happily alone in a 1490sf house (and fill it up) but your housing depends on your budget and your future plans.  Your budget with the mortgage on just your income would determine how fast you need to pursue a sale.

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I'm sorry you have to go through this, even though it may be a positive for you.  I think it's ok to at least start doing a little research. 

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I'm sorry you're going through this, but I'm glad it sounds like it's going well so far. 

 

For some reason I think you live in the Puget Sound area. Housing prices really are going crazy there, so selling sounds like a good option. However, I'd make sure you can find something before you sell. Downsizing may actually cost more than what you're paying now, so it might make more sense to stay put even if there's more space than you need. 

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I'm sorry that you are going through this.  It's going to be up and down for a little while.

 

I have to second the post about looking into prices for land in your desired area.  As well as putting in a concrete pad, electricity, sewage, and water.  Sometimes they aren't as cheap as we think they should be.  Also look at the legalities of living in a motor home (5th wheel, travel trailer) in your area.  Some areas have restricitions.  Figure out if you CAN do what you want to do, in a way that works for you.

 

Do you own a tow vehicle?  What is the towing limit? Is it built for towing?  (Many aren't.)  When you know the limit you can begin to look at RVs that fit within that limit.  If you look at RVs first, you may fall in love with one that requres a new towing vehicle.

 

I think you could begin to search for a RV that suits your needs.  Go to a couple of lots and see what the RVs have that you want, what would be nice, and what you can live without. Some are nearly house like now.  Get on a couple of forums about those who full-time, and see what the concerns are.  Depending on climate, you may be looking at specific requirements involving insullation and construction for full timing.  Which will change the price you would have to spend.

 

I would look into renting a RV for the weekend or a week and see how living in one actually is.  I would recommend a month or more, but that gets REALLY pricy.  (Unless you know someone who would be willing to lend you one for that time frame.)  Sometimes it looks like a good idea, it sounds like a good idea, but ends up not being a good idea for you.  Now is the time to figure that out, before you are stuck living in something you really don't want to.

 

So I'm not sure that you want to speak to realtors just yet, but there is a lot you can do to see if you actually will want to speak to one later.

 

Good luck!

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Don't do anything until after the divorce. You never know what will happen between you and your DH between now and the divorce. 

 

I would research options and that's about it until July.

 

Which, I think is good, because it allows you to emotionally catch up to what is happening in your life. You are going through a divorce. It's like going through a death in a family. It will take time to readjust to life on your own without a companion. 

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I'm sorry for what you are going through.  Since he is the one moving out, I think you should stay put for 6 months until things settle down, and then decide what to do.  Don't make too many big decisions all at once.  It may seem like too big of a house, but realtor fees aren't cheap.  It might be best to stay put.  Then again maybe not...just give it some time.

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Tiny houses are definitely becoming very popular. Sounds like with your equity you might be able to get one of those after a time. I doubt that market will go dowh in the next six months. Use that time to prioritize what you want to keep, purge, store if desired. We watch those shows all the time. I'm glad things are going amicably but it does concern me that you guys still share a banking account.

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Tiny houses are definitely becoming very popular. Sounds like with your equity you might be able to get one of those after a time. I doubt that market will go dowh in the next six months. Use that time to prioritize what you want to keep, purge, store if desired. We watch those shows all the time. I'm glad things are going amicably but it does concern me that you guys still share a banking account.

 

Agreed. At the very least, make sure legal documents show what is currently in each account and what has been going in/leaving the accounts for a while. That way if a large amount suddenly disappears, there's record of it. But I'd make sure I had my own accounts going forward that *my* money was going into.

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The only good thing about my divorce process was that neither one of us cleaned out the accounts behind the other's back.  If he had done that, it would have been all out war.  Both of our attorneys told us to do it, and somehow we both knew not to.  I'm not saying keep your account together but if you do split them, be 100% honest and upfront about it.  Talk to him and do it together.  I've seen countless friendly divorces turn very VERY ugly as soon as someone closes the bank account.

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