Downsizing After Divorce

As a married couple with a joint income, you probably shared your household expenses, from mortgage payments and utilities to groceries and family vacations. If you are going through a divorce, you may need to make significant financial adjustments as you transition to a single income and additional expenses. While this can be an overwhelming and emotional process, downsizing can help you get a fresh start and focus on the things that are most important to you.

Should We Sell the Marital Home?

This is often one of the most challenging decisions, particularly if you and your spouse have lived in the home for many years, made numerous improvements, and raised your children there. As difficult as it may be to put the house on the market, this may relieve the financial pressure of maintaining a home. Your lawyer can advise you on selling your marital home.

How Do I Prepare My Children for Downsizing?

If you and your spouse have decided to sell the house and move into a smaller, more affordable home, the children may have difficulty adjusting. If your children are young, they may adapt to the change fairly quickly. However, the process can be more difficult for older children who have lived in the same house their entire life. You can help make this transition easier by being open and honest with them about the new living circumstances.

How Do I Manage Debt?

One of the main benefits of downsizing is that your monthly expenses will likely be significantly less.

As tempting as it may be to furnish a new home with all new furniture as soon as you move in, this may be an unnecessary expense. Consider furnishing your new home with used or second-hand furniture until you can afford exactly what you want.

What Should I Do With Items I No Longer Need?

Another aspect of downsizing after a divorce involves purging items. For example, if you are going through boxes of clothing, you may realize there are bags worth you can get rid of. You can make space in your closet by donating these items to Goodwill or another organization that accepts clothing donations.

You may also want to consider selling your engagement and wedding rings and other valuable jewelry given to you by your spouse. Rather than keep these valuable items locked away in a safe, consider selling them and using the money for something towards your new house, a vacation with your children, or to pay off lingering credit card debt that is hanging over you.

Should I Downgrade My Car?

Rather than overextend yourself financially by making expensive monthly car payments, you may consider downgrading to a more affordable vehicle. A general rule of thumb is to have a car payment that is no more than 15 percent of your after-tax monthly income. Unless you have a considerable amount of expendable income, it is recommended that you purchase a reliable used car with a monthly car payment that you can afford.

What Other Steps Should I Take to Downsize?

In addition to downsizing your home and your belongings, you can let go of certain obligations and commitments. For example, you can decline invitations or say “no” to things you felt obligated to do when you were married.

Somerville Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Navigate the Divorce Process

If you are going through a divorce and have concerns about the financial impact, contact our Somerville divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. To schedule a free consultation, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Morris Plains, and Monmouth County.