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When Divorce Brings Your Illusion of a Charmed Life to an End


Living beyond one’s means is the rule rather than the exception, especially for couples with minor children.  Thanks to social media, today’s young families feel even more pressure to keep up with the Joneses than previous generations.  When you see all your peers posting pictures of their glamorous vacations and their children’s stylish clothes and expensive extracurricular activities, it is easy to feel pressured to spend money you don’t have just so your children will not feel left out.  Of course, you don’t see your friends’ credit card bills or their credit scores.  You have no idea if other people can actually afford all those luxuries they parade in front of you.  If you or your spouse files for divorce, though, all your financial secrets will be laid bare before the court.  Even if you and your spouse had an unspoken agreement to pretend to be wealthier than you were, the charade ends when you divorce.  Equitable distribution means dividing the property you own, not the property you pretend to own or wished you owned.  It also means dividing your debts, and you might have to give up some of your wannabe celebutante paraphernalia to pay them.  The first step to finding financial stability after a marital lifestyle neither spouse could afford is to contact a Palm Beach County divorce lawyer.

When No One Can Afford to Keep the Marital Home

When Tracie and Thomas divorced in 2008, their youngest child was eight years old; they agreed that Tracie, the primary residential parent, could stay in the marital home until the youngest child reached adulthood.  In fact, many family court judges consider this an ideal situation.  The couple had bought the house from Tracie’s father for $500,000 in 2003, using severance pay Thomas had gotten from a previous job and money Tracie had inherited from another family member.  At the time of the divorce, they still owed money on the mortgage; the balance of $300,000 would be due at the end of 2008.  There was no way they could afford it; they had only been able to afford the $17,000 property taxes for the past three years because of monetary gifts from Tracie’s brother.

At the trial, the judge asked Tracie how she planned to pay the mortgage.  The only plans she could come up with were to sell portions of the land next to the house, which she owned, and to ask her brother to help her pay.  The judge took that to mean that, even with Thomas paying her alimony, she could not afford to keep the house.  Therefore, the court ordered the couple to sell the house and divide the proceeds, and the appeals court upheld this decision.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you get a realistic idea of how equitable distribution of marital property will look in your divorce.  Contact Schwartz | White for help today.



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