Splitting Suburban Couples Suffer Awfully from Housing Decline

marcineedle.jpgOkay, now they're just trying to be funny. The Times tells us about Marci Needle and her unnamed husband who "owned a million-dollar home near Atlanta and another in Jacksonville, Fla," and are having trouble negotiating their divorce because "the market for both houses has crashed, and the couple are left arguing about whether the homes are worth what they owe on them, and whether there are any assets left to divide." Ms. Needle wants her husband to "buy me out" because the return on the real estate "would be my only income," though she looks perfectly able-bodied to us.

Wait, it gets better. A divorce financial analyst tells the Times she's "seeing couples who were determined to stay together even after divorce because they could not sell their home," and as a result "now one is coming home with a new boyfriend or girlfriend, and it's creating a layer to relationships that we haven't seen before." Sadly, the Times fails to describe the layering process, at least to our satisfaction.

Other homeowning future divorcees are saving money by ceasing to make mortgage payments, during which time "they just live in different parts of the house and say, 'We'll stay here for as long as we can, and save our money, so we have the ability to move when and if the sheriff comes to toss us out.'" We note that these people are all from jurisdictions outside of New York, where there appears to be a cultural taboo against moving into a one-bedroom apartment and starting over from scratch.


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