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Can your home renovation strip your marriage down to studs?

Imagine you and your spouse have lived in your home in Fargo for several years. You bought a bit of a fixer-upper and always planned to do some renovating. Now is the time, you decide.

Since you have had time to save up some money, you're going to do several rooms, maybe even an entire floor. You both get excited about the idea of picking out flooring and wall colors and backsplash. You imagine something fresh and modern. You like cool tones and minimal stylings. Maybe some sleek glass light fixtures and chrome-edged furniture. Thrilled with your concept, you tell your spouse your thoughts.

Your spouse, as it turns out, can't stand the thought of a modern interior. Your spouse wants traditional decor. Your spouse thinks you can incorporate some of your existing furniture into that scheme -- the hand-me-downs from your parents. Suddenly, for both of you, the excitement turns to frustration.

If you have ever experienced a situation like this, you are not alone. According to a survey conducted by Houzz, a home design and improvement website, more than 50 percent of couples felt that a home renovation put stress on their marriage. Twelve percent of couples even said disagreements over a renovation made them consider divorce.

Like our hypothetical situation, most survey respondents said frustration stemmed from disagreements over how to style their home. Others, however, said a spouse throwing away items like furniture or artwork without telling the other caused serious problems.

There's no doubt that renovating a home can be a stressful experience. Both of you want it to turn out perfectly, but if you can't agree on styles, that may be a difficult goal to achieve. For some couples, compromise can happen. For those who simply cannot find common ground, disputes about who gets to pick the decor could quickly become disputes about who gets to keep the house.

Source: Huffington Post, "Home Renovations Make 12 Percent of Couples Consider Divorce, According To Houzz Survey," Shane Ecker, July 31, 2013

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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