Relationships Selling Houses/ Moving Home Interiors Therapy & Feng Shui

Divorcing A Home – should YOU stay or go?

Jan 01, 2023

Moving to a new home after Divorce may be daunting but it’s often a happier, healthier option than remaining in the marital home.

This blog highlights some of the personal stories connected with keeping a home after divorce as a way of encouraging you to see things from a different perspective if you’re starting the divorce process. It’s longer than most blogs on the site, but well worth reading if it saves you making a decision you may later regret.

That said, it’s essential to get good independent financial advice during divorce, especially where property and pensions are involved. This is even more relevant when divorcing a High Net Worth individual.

Let me explain my point of view, because I come at this from two angles;

Firstly from working with many long-divorced clients who fought hard to keep their marital home and now, years later, have yet to move on emotionally and practically while their ex is thriving in every way… and that hurts! With hindsight, the cost of keeping the home in terms of their wellbeing, self-esteem and the future of their children was (and is) just too great.

Secondly from the perspective of the divorce lawyers, coaches and financial experts specialising in divorce who see women repeatedly (it’s mostly women) choosing to compromise on financial settlements and losing leverage through the divorce process just because they are intent on keeping the house. Why? Because a home is often perceived as a woman’s weak spot and, while it might seem like a ‘win’ to keep it initially, the longer-term implications can be very detrimental to future happiness.

My Interiors Therapy Clients give many reasons for the decision to accept less than they were entitled to in exchange for keeping the home:

·      They didn’t want to move the children from schools or friends

·      This was their dream home

·      They didn’t want their ex to have ‘their’ house

·      The other woman might have moved in

·      Moving out might have meant a smaller home or relocating to another area

·      They had too much stuff and too many memories to move

·      They wanted adult children to be able to come back to the ‘family home’

Let’s pick those reasons apart based on the experiences of some of the divorcees I’ve worked with. *All names changed to maintain anonymity and fabulousness.


They didn’t want to move the children away from schools/friends

Jillian* had worked hard to get her primary age children into an outstanding school and had made friends with the other mums. “I really dug my heels in to keep them there, and in my mind, that meant staying in the house we bought together”.


What actually happened was that as soon as her ‘village friends’ realised Jillian was divorcing she was ghosted. To add to her woes, the children felt their father’s presence in the home which meant they missed him and acted-up to punish her. Within 2 years the kids left the primary school and the route to their secondary school was so convoluted Jillian ended up driving them everywhere.  

“I spent the next eight years dictated by school runs, after school clubs and matches. By the time my kids were dating I spent hours alone each week sitting in my car waiting for them. The annoying thing is, my solicitor and my real friends had all encouraged me to see the bigger picture and move somewhere the kids could be more independent and I could enjoy life, but I’d shot myself in the foot by accepting a smaller settlement so I could stay in the house.”

This was their dream home

Sadie* and her husband worked hard to renovate a ‘fixer upper’ into the spacious modern home they had always wanted. The stress of the build had pushed the couple apart. Years later, Sadie had come to resent the house.

“Every part of this place was something we created together – his choice of fireplaces, my perfect kitchen, the skirtings he fitted and our special sofa.”


Sadie found herself living in a cavernous space which was way too big for one person and full of memories of her marriage. It was looking dated and she felt trapped. 

“When he left, he suggested selling while it was pristine. If we’d done so we would each have had enough to buy a really nice place to start again. Stupidly I said no.”

They didn’t want the ex to have their house

Debra* initiated divorce after meeting someone new. She was keen to move on quickly with the relationship and relocated to the home of her new boyfriend. Debra hated the idea of her ex-husband remaining nearby, so rather than receive a very generous settlement, she insisted on moving back into the house.

“It was just spite really. I'm ashamed to say I wanted to force him out of the area and never see his face again. I remarried as soon as the ink was dry on the divorce. TOTAL DISASTER! I was divorcing again within a year. Every relationship since has failed. I’m beginning to see how much the energy of the house impacts on my life, so I’m selling up and moving away.”

Debra’s initial contact with me was for Feng Shui, having realised her house, and three nearby properties were probably in the ‘Bad for People/Good for Money’ Feng Shui category because every couple who moved in divorced. She cited her relationship challenges and general dissatisfaction with life for her and the children when she first got in touch and then implemented Interiors Therapy ahead of selling the house for significantly over the asking price.

“We’re so much happier now. The kids visibly relaxed in our new place which has a lovely atmosphere. I’m giving myself some headspace before considering a new romance and feel more positive than I have since the divorce”.

The other woman might have moved in

Jasmeen* knew her ex-husband wanted to keep the house. It had belonged to his family before their marriage, and he was determined to live there along with his much younger girlfriend. 

“With hindsight I was blinded by the rage I felt towards him. Everyone was telling me to move out and get right away from him. Three lawyers strongly recommended releasing the property, but I paid the lawyer who promised to get it for me. He did, but at huge personal and financial cost.”


Jasmeen experienced anxiety and depression for ten years after her divorce. The kids have never accepted her authority in ‘their father’s house’.  Her ex-husband still behaves as if he owns the place and lets himself in despite her asking him not to and changing the locks.  

“It would have been better to say ‘so what?’ and let go. Instead, I am surrounded by memories and his energetic connection to the house. I honestly don’t know what planet I was on. His girlfriend left him anyway and he’s alone now, but he’s got a beautiful apartment of the sort I’d have loved and could have bought, while I can’t afford basic maintenance on this horrible house”.

Moving would have meant a smaller home or relocating to another area

Corrine* loved her cluttered house but her life partner didn’t share her passion. When the mess got too much, he suggested they sell at the top of the market and each buy elsewhere. She loved spending time in the country and he pointed out she could find a place the same size or larger, even the smallholding she longed for, and purchase outright with her share of their Clapham property.

“I refused and bought him out instead, even though it stretched me to the max. Then we went into lockdown and the boys and I were trapped in this pokey house full of stuff. Nightmare! I could see why he left - I had everything the boys had ever made, all the photos, books, baby clothes. It was stifling.”


Corrine was working ridiculously long hours to stay afloat. The boys were frustrated by the lack of space and she began to think they might both have ADHD. She sought Interiors Therapy help to deal with her attachment to clutter permanently and after dealing with the stuff, realised she had short-changed herself and the children.

“My highest values were to enjoy time with the boys and feel more connected to nature. I knew that, but still stayed in London, exhausted and unhappy. Once the clutter had gone, I saw things more clearly. I rented the Clapham house out for a year and tried life in a small town. It’s going so well and the boys’ behaviour is transformed. I never want to go back to that stressed lifestyle.”

They had too much stuff and too many memories to move

When Gerald’s* divorce was finalised he was delighted his wife had agreed to him staying in the marital home. She had taken her clothes, jewellery and laptop, leaving absolutely everything else. 

“Her life just took off.  She looks a decade younger, has this gorgeous place on the river, all high spec and big views according to the kids. Meanwhile I’m here stagnating, wasting my life and wishing I’d just travelled light and left it all behind. I either have to deal with the stuff and the memories – or leave it all for the kids to sort out”.


Gerald knew I had worked with his ex-wife, and when he picked up a copy of my book ‘Welcome Home, How Stuff Makes or Breaks your Relationship’ it made a lot of sense to him.  With encouragement from his children and a lot of Interiors Therapy support, he cleared the 19 room house and it’s now on the market. 

“I wish we’d just sold it with it in the divorce. Selfishly it would have been easier if she had shared responsibility for dealing with the possessions. When it comes down to it, it’s more important to be happy than cling to bricks and mortar.”

They wanted adult children to be able to come back to ‘the family home’

Deirdre* has a big sprawling house in Ireland. There was plenty of room for her grown up children and their families to visit so she decided to stay put rather than selling up.

“I was so hung up on imagining the grandchildren being here for happy family Christmases and forgot the other 364 days. In the eight years since we’ve had just one Christmas here and their father’s absence made it hollow. I’m lonely and rattling about wrapped in jumpers and a beanie because I can’t afford to heat it and it’s more practical for me to visit my girls than them travel here with their families”

Deirdre’s financial settlement meant the house is her only asset. Her job barely covers the bills and food.

“I’m stuck here now as I can't get a mortgage, so instead we’re going to divide the house, and sell the other half to give me money to maintain what’s left. It’s a compromise, because I wanted the girls to inherit, but I never considered or was advised on the wider implications of how I would keep it up after the girls moved away or even if they’d want it – which they don’t”.     


In almost every instance, clients wish they had moved out of the house they shared with the ex, ditched the possessions which reminded them of him/her and started again in a home which was theirs alone, without difficult or sad memories and where the ex didn’t behave as though they still lived there. 

As one woman said, “If we’d sold up before the divorce I could have chosen a place which worked for the lifestyle I wanted and had leverage to get the settlement I deserved.  My intransigence meant I was held over a barrel by his lawyer and ended up much worse off emotionally and financially.” 

I can recommend requesting impartial financial advice from:

Tamsin Caine

Ceri Griffiths

Hulya Gunay

And if you’re keen to come through your divorce in the most positive and dignified way, consider Divorce Coaching from one of these amazing people:

Claire Macklin

Rhiannon Ford

Tosh Brittan

All work remotely, so regardless of where you are based in the UK, they can help smooth the way through your divorce.