Broken heart  graphic

Jacqueline Haynes

is a full-time agent with COLDWELL Banker in Mendham.  In addition to her salespersons license, she is both a licensed real estate broker and Instructor.  Designations held include ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative), e-PRO which is the realtors Internet marketing designation and GREEN.  She can be reached via email at or phone: (201) 230-3312.

So You're Getting Divorced...

By Jacqueline Haynes

Divorce DecreeI’m so sorry to hear that.  Yet it’s something that we hear constantly.  We all know someone who is ‘going through it’.  I’ve been there myself, pretty recently.

This time can be from hell.  Angst in the relationship.  Fears over the children.  Questions from family.  Blame from friends.  And affordability issues with the house.

Trust me.  The time eventually passes and you do get through it but while you’re in the midst, it can be the worst time of your life.  It feels like you’re sinking into the mire and the more you struggle to free yourself, the deeper you go.

So, I can’t fix marriage issues or the surrounding problems.  What I can do, is help you make sensible and rational decisions about the house.

People sometimes try to hurt each other when they are in this situation: “if he/she has cheated on me/wants to leave me (insert your preferred option here) – I’ll make sure they suffer!”

OK – so think about this one for a second, guys.  If you go out of your way to hurt the other person, who else suffers?  Oh yes.  YOU!  And your children if you have them.

With all the hurt, betrayal and anger (and sometimes relief) that comes with the end of a marriage, stay dignified.  For the sake of children that may be involved and for the sake of your sanity and economic well-being.

Problem one:  Neither side can afford to keep the house and in order to pay the current mortgage, neither side can actually afford to move out of the house.

Oh dear.  You have no clue how often this happens.  Sometimes this becomes a permanent arrangement.  A couple that is separated, sometimes divorced, living in the same house.  Now, I’m sure that there are some people that are better than the rest of us that find this works nicely for them.  For those of us that are less advanced, it can be painful.  Arguments can escalate.  So what do you do?

Maybe it’s time to sell the house.

Problem 2:  I’m not using any realtor that ex-husband/wife wants to use!

OK, STOP!  This needs to be a rational decision.  Agree on 2 or 3 agents to interview.  Get referrals from colleagues and friends.  Check out agent bios on the internet.  Choose someone that you both think is professional .  Not because you think that they’re on ‘your’ side.

Remember, this is NOT an easy situation for a realtor.  To insert oneself into a hurricane can be extremely dangerous!  There is an ancient proverb along the lines of ‘this too shall pass…’  Rise to the occasion and get through it.

Problem 3: New home affordability.

There is no doubt about it.  Your standard of living is likely to change.  In my case, I went from my single family home on over 2 acres, to my townhouse.  You know what?  I LOVE it.  Change does not have to be bad.  Change is just different.  Embrace change.  It can be a growth experience.  There are plenty of divorced people who now live in their (much smaller) homes who are very happy.  Find a realtor to work with you to find somewhere suitable.  Whether you rent for a year or whether you buy straight away – this is the next move. 

Problem 4:  Otherwise known as ‘sticking your head in the sand’ syndrome.  Do not ignore the obvious.  If you wait until the house is sold before you start to look for an alternative residence, you’re going to be unprepared and in a state of shock when the time comes.  You need to understand your options and what you can afford.  It’s easy to ignore facts but the more you look, the better prepared you’re going to be once you actually have to move.

Problem 5:  I don’t want my children to change school district.  This is understandable.  There is enough going on for your children right now, even if they seem to be coping well with the situation.  Sometimes, however, the truth has to be acknowledged that you can’t afford to stay in your existing town or that there is a better home elsewhere.  This was again true in my situation.  Much though I love Chester and initially tried hard to stay there, Mendham, with the ease of living in a townhouse, security gate for the complex, in-door and out-door swimming pool, tennis courts, basket ball courts, tot lot and equally great school system was just the better living solution for me.  I wanted my children to have things to do in a safe environment while I was working.  I did not want them to be sat in front of the television or X-box all day when I wasn’t there because there was nothing for them to do if I couldn’t drive them.  Guess what?  My children adapted wonderfully to the new school.  A supportive, loving home environment needs to be the 1st thing on your list.  Sure.  There is going to be disruption.  That is going to happen regardless of changing school district.  Just another thing to get through.

The light at the end of the tunnel.  It is there.  The tunnel might be ridiculously long, but it is there and you ARE headed in the right direction toward it.  Sometimes you may stall.  Held up by circumstances beyond your control.  Time is the only solution.  That, and the shoulders of friends, family and your realtor.  Your realtor is working for you.  They do want the best for you.  And many of us go out of our way to make sure that you get it.  Hold your head high.  Take a deep breath and phone one of us.  We’ll help you!