Life Advice



Ask Amy: Ex-spouses continue their financial entanglement

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My ex-husband and I divorced in 2016. We are both in our 70s and retired. We still co-own our beautiful family home.

Since 2020, my ex and I have been living in the home (in separate apartments).

This has mostly been compatible. We have a young-adult son who lives nearby. He has contributed greatly to the maintenance and management of the home, which has involved renting rooms to friends and renting out an "Airbnb" suite.

My ex and I have significant equity in the home. Our divorce agreement says that we are each responsible for 50 percent of the house expenses. I have been paying more to cover house expenses than my ex can afford to pay.

He says I will be paid back if we sell the house. Our divorce agreement says either one of us can call for the house to be sold, and so far, neither of us have wanted to sell. We would like to leave the house to our son, but rising taxes might make it unaffordable to continue living here in the coming years.

My ex also owns a condo and has had a 10- year struggle with the condo association, resulting in the condo remaining vacant and significant debts accumulating.


I'm considering getting a reverse mortgage on our home to help my ex with his financial difficulties.

Our son is against this idea and is unwilling to co-sign a home equity loan (on the condo or our home) to help my ex settle his debts.

Our retirement incomes are so low that the only kind of loan we could get without a cosigner would be a reverse mortgage.

This situation is stressful for all of us. I have hired a financial adviser and will be getting her advice soon.


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