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Do renovations shed light on how a marital relationship works?

Remodeling seems to be all the rage these days. DIY television networks are booming, social media sites like Pinterest contain numerous how-to’s on turning old furniture into a great new piece and flipping houses has become a new financial plan. For a lot of couples, renovations are more than a revamp project.

A lot of real estate experts said that they end up selling properties that are newly remodeled and being put up as part of a divorce settlement. Why the close relationship between divorce and remodeling? For some couples, a renovation project ends up acting as a bit of a relationship mirror.

Sometimes a renovation project can expose a fractured relationship, what didn’t work in the marriage. Remodeling a home is about the end result, the big picture, but there are a lot of details that need to be worked out to get there. It’s a real life metaphor, and the conflict doesn’t always arise out of a lack of money.

One spouse may have an emotional investment in choosing the details of a remodeling project, while the other doesn’t. At times a spouse might see the other’s lack of interest in choosing the table that will be a part of their dream home as a lack of interest in the spouse or the family. The woman with the dining room table was real, and she saw the decision as more than what fit the space; she saw it as the place the family would commune together.

Another woman shared in an interview that she ended up turning to her designers and her contractor when her husband didn’t care about the details. It wasn’t about a physical relationship, but she sought out someone with an investment in the project.

When they divorced and it came time to sell the property, he loved the home and saw it as a “beautiful possession.” She felt like “it was a dream that ended up getting corrupted.”

We talked about the negative, but what about the positive stories that come out of a remodel that ends in divorce? We’ll share the other side in our next post in our Sacramento family law blog.

Source: New York Observer, “Until Decorating Do Us Part: When Renovations End in Divorce,” Kim Velsey, March 12, 2014

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
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Phone: 916-905-4805
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