Turning Your Family Home Into a Duplex After a Divorce

Turning your family home into a duplex is not a novel idea. Plenty of families have done that in the past to offset their mortgage. They can turn the other side of their homes into a rental and use the rental money to eventually own the home wholly or buy a new one. However, is it a novel idea to turn your family home into a duplex because of a divorce? Most couples will easily want to stay as far away from each other after a divorce, but they’re becoming more concerned about their kids’ future nowadays. They want to be co-parents and one of the best ways to do that is to live under one roof.

But how can you live under one roof and not bite each other’s heads off? One solution would be to turn your family home into a duplex. It’s not an easy idea to put into action, but it is doable and might even be beneficial for the whole family. So, how does a family go about it?

Consult With a Lawyer First

Legally, you need to talk to a family lawyer first. How will the ownership change if you are going to renovate your home into a duplex after a divorce? Will it even change the terms of the division of properties? Who owns what part? Or, do both of you earn the whole duplex? You need to set this legal issue aside before calling in the contractor and starting to build new walls.

Check the Zoning Issues

Get the necessary permits to start the work immediately. Are you allowed to turn your home into a duplex? There could be zoning issues here. You might have a hard time getting a permit or at the least, you have to pay for the transformation. Either way, it’s necessary to get the right permits before letting your contractor design the new home.

Talk About Which Half Is Yours

A duplex is two homes that share one wall in the middle. Which side is yours? Do you want the one with the garage or the garden? How about the basement and the attic? You don’t need a lawyer for this but if talking to your ex-spouse stresses you out, a lawyer is just what you need.

Check the Requirements and Design Accordingly

What are the requirements to turn your home into a duplex? A duplex needs two separate entrances. Both “homes” need to have the following: living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. They also need a separate meter for the electricity, gas, water, and even internet. Talk with your contractor about how to go about these changes in your home. If your home is already halfway built to be turned into a duplex, then lucky you. The contractor needs to find a way to divide these amenities into two separate homes.

Know How It’s Going to Change Your Home’s Value

You might have to borrow money from the bank for the renovation of your home. How is it going to affect the divorce and the home’s value? You have to talk about this legal and money issue with your ex-spouse. Some homes increase in value when they are turned into a duplex. Others do not. It all depends on the location of your home, the size of the property, and the design of the home.

Don’t Intrude Into Your Ex-spouse’s Design

As much as you want to give your two cents about your ex-spouse’s home design, don’t do it. While the other half of the house is attached to yours, that’s all there is to it. You are technically sharing a wall and nothing more than that. A divorce meant you don’t have to worry yourself about mundane things like this. So, let it be. Just ask the contractor to make sure that no design or change in amenity in the other part will affect your side of the house.

Keep the Lawn Complementary in Design


While you should have separate lawns, you may want to make them look and feel complementary to each other. You have to talk about this with your partner. Who takes care of the lawn and who decides what to plant, for example? It’s a simple matter that each can take a step forward or backward, depending on the circumstances. The priority is to make the home’s exterior more appealing.

A divorce is always heartbreaking for a family. If you have kids who will be affected by the separation, the least you can do is make sure to be present in their lives always. The good thing about living in a duplex is you can be there for the kids while not necessarily bumping into each other every single minute.

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