sillouette coupleAn unfortunate fact of life is that housing and financial problems can metastasize, destroying marriages and families. When this happens, despite the cloud of unhappiness that hovers over a couple’s life during these times, differences should be set aside when it comes to how to dispose of the family home. Continue reading “QUERIN LAW: Distressed Property, Distressed Marriage (2013)”

Over the course of the past two and one-half years, I’ve met with hundreds of folks experiencing the trauma of dealing with huge negative equity in their homes.  In lay terms, they’re “underwater” – meaning that the value of their home has dropped below what they paid, and frequently is now less than what they owe. This has become a common phenomenon over the past five years. But frequently, being underwater is not the only problem. If it were, many homeowners would likely remain where they are.  However, an additional circumstance, such as one of the feared 3-Ds, Death, Divorce, and Debt, is frequently an accompanying factor that has brought homeowners to my office.

This post will focus on the Scylla and Charybdis of home ownership today: Distressed housing coupled with a distressed marriage. Here are some tips, traps, caveats, and general observations that I’ve gleaned from distressed housing clients contemplating divorce:

• Don’t keep looking in the rear-view mirror – you’ll drive off the road!  How and why you got here is a concern that runs a distant second to where you’re now going. In most cases, the clients I’ve met who were anticipating divorce avoided the blame-game, and wanted to make the best of a difficult situation. This is a good thing; a collaborative, realistic and rational approach to a solution is much better than an adversarial one.
• Good information can be liberating.  Fear thrives best when allowed to feed on misinformation.  Most people are inundated with opinions, rumors, and horror stories about the foreclosure crisis. They need to separate fact from fiction before they can make informed decisions about what to do in their own personal situation. Armed with good information, I’ve seen clients make far better choices for their mutual best interests – even when they are planning to divorce. Continue reading “Distressed Housing, Distressed Marriage”