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Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

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Established Member

Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

OH how I hope some of you can give me some suggestions or ideas!

I'm 66 and husband is 70.

We own a very very old run down home on 1.5 acres.

I haven't lived in the house for many years, as husband refused to take care of anything, and I've been unable to work due to health issues, so was unable to hire anyone to help.

I've been living in an off the grid tiny house on our property (power but no plumbing).

Husband has insisted on staying in the house.

Because of many reasons, we have mutually decided to divorce.

I may need to move across the US to care for my terminal son (from first marriage).

My mind is in a whirl with what to do.

The house is paid for, and we have 2 tiny houses on property that are new. We've put over $2,000 into each.

The main house isn't even worth $15,000.

NY divides everything 50% with divorce.

I'll need money to start over on my own, as husband would stay in house. He does say he would leave if we sell the house, but I'm really worried NO one will want THIS house!

Husband also has beginnings of dementia, so it's all on me. I have ZERO family or friends to talk to or help me.

We get $3,200 monthly between s.s. and pensions combined. We have no savings.

If I'm leaving any important information out, just ask.

I've considered a HELOC or HEL, but we would have to pay off all our loans, back taxes, and line of credit, in order for our CU to consider the HELOC. We would be left with $3,000 if we're lucky, because of the house's low value.

Husbands scores are 575 and 650 on CK, mine are close to that. We have 1 CC with 300, about to go to 500 in Oct or Nov.

If he stays in house with both tiny houses, he'll be better off than me. I have to start over again, travel to my son, and have enough to sustain me for awhile.

What would you do????

ANY suggestions would be welcomed!

Thank you ....
Message 1 of 36
Established Member

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

Message 2 of 36
Valued Contributor

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

That's a heck of a lot to unpack... I'm sorry for the degradation of your marriage.


Depending on where you are in the state, is the land worth much? That's likely to be worth more than the house. With the 50% split, your best bet may be to just take any pennies in your checking account(s) and leave him with all the leins on the house. Then at least you'll have a clean slate. Maybe you could get a social security check or two of his for the value still in the house.


All in all, best of luck with things.

TU FICO 8: 741 (7/19) — Ex FICO 8: 739 (7/19) — Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer
Message 3 of 36
Senior Contributor

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

@Mochabreve222 wrote:

Well, first off, " $3,200 monthly between s.s. and pensions combined" isn't bad for retirement income, but how of that is yours? If you divorce you will only get whatever is paid directly to you. With the low value of the property and their being back taxes and apparently other loans it doesn't sound like it's worth bothering trying for a home equity LOC or loan. But can the property be subdivided into 1 parcel with the main house and the other parcel with the two tiny houses? If so, then maybe you could take that parcel with the two tiny houses and sell it, someone may want it to install plumbing and rent them out, maybe rent them as an AirBnB vacation type rental. 


Or, if enough of that "$3200 monthly combined" is enough for you to live on then maybe just leave? Does your son have enough space where he lives for you to stay with him? If so then you wouldn't need too much to get by.

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Message 4 of 36
Established Member

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

Thanks Dave,
No, my son has a tiny apt with nowhere for me to sleep. Also, it's filthy, since he's been so sick, he's not able to keep it clean.

I realized that it's actually $3,400 combined.

Not sure why you asked how much of that is "mine" ... since all our money is "ours" when married.

Anyway, in NY state, everything is divided 50/50 in divorce.

The idea on dividing the land is a good idea, but the main house is so run down, it ruins the whole area.

I left for awhile, and the time I was gone, husband allowed cats to destroy the house, and let it go.

Question: do you think the back taxes, low credit score, and other loans he's paying on, will stop is from getting a HELOC or HEL?

Message 5 of 36
Valued Contributor

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

I think the question about income was to inquire about how much would travel with YOU when you part ways, to see what you'd have to sustain a woman your life expectancy is still a few DECADES , so it's a valid question (Licensed Agent, many conversations about LTC and who gets what etc)

Anyway based upon the property value, you keep on insisting is basically non existent ...banking on a HELOC won't matter much because there sounds like the property wouldn't warrant it...

I thought of a reverse mortgage but again you are running down the value of the property so bad that, that option may not be available either....
If a reverse were an available option it could solve the 💰 out for you option and require no payments until, he passes that way his credit score wouldn't be a factor.

Again it sounds like the property has no value though and individually both your independent credit profiles & incomes will be challenging moving forward....

Perhaps, the son might qualify for some sort of disability or SSI and you may look into a senior facility that would take the SS check as payment and call it a day
Message 6 of 36
Regular Contributor

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

The question to OP as to how much of the monthly ncome is hers is important in reference to Social Security. Many times the wife is receiving a spousal benefit based on a percentage of her husband's benefit. The reverse is true if the wife was the higher earner. Not gender specific. 


In the event of the death of one spouse the surviving spouse continues to receive the larger of the two benefits, not both.  Often the loss of the deceased spouses benefit is an unpelasant surprise to the surviving spouse.


In divorce Socai Security benefits remain with the beneficiary. Social Security benefits are not subject to any property settlement agreement. No divvying up of Social Security. 


More info is available at

Message 7 of 36
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

Best of luck to you. I was a divorced older woman so know there are  issues to consider. First of all, you have to start thinking about your financial situation as a single woman, if you are actually still considering getting a divorce. Count your money only and see what you have. Make a list of your expenses and see what you have left.  That planning has to begin right away. Best of luck to you...



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Message 8 of 36
Established Member

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

My son has passed away ...

My SS alone is $550.

My husband has agreed to let me keep his SS also, which is $1,200. Total: $1,750 per month.

I need to leave here, I hate it here. I have no idea where I'll go, but I want to be by myself now, and figure it out from there.

We've joined a Navy credit union, and husband obtained a $1000 CL credit card from them.

I joined also with my own account, although I'm not sure if I'll lose that account when we divorce. I was refused a CC.

We ARE divorcing, but not until we can afford it financially.

I'm still looking into a reverse mortgage, and hope the house and land will allow SOMETHING.

There's also the possibility of a VA refinance loan.

Any other ideas would be appreciated.

Edited to add: does anyone know how closely they inspect a home for reverse/refinanced mortgages (loans)?

Do they always go to the home in person and do a walk through? Or do they find the value via online/taxes/etc?

Message 9 of 36
Frequent Contributor

Re: Seniors ... and our dilemma. Suggestions?

@Mochabreve222 wrote:
My son has passed away ...

Wow, i was following the story with nothing to contribute. When I ran up on this, my heart sunk, I'm very sorry to hear about the passing of your son, best of luck to you.

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Message 10 of 36
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