For a lot of couples, the choice to renovate or build a home might at first be exciting and fun. However, those who have been through the process of a major remodel know that it can quickly become stressful and expensive. It should come as no surprise then, that projects that start out as the construction of a dream house can sometimes reveal that a marriage is ending.

Sometimes the stress of the construction project and the high cost can create tension, but in other situations the project may act as a distraction for the couple from greater issues. Psychologists support the idea that couples may start moving towards a larger goal or a big project when the relationship is suffering as a way to unite towards a common goal. Unfortunately as the mundane details like drawer pulls and wall color come into play, fundamental disagreements may emerge as a sign of other issues.

For one woman, she said that her husband’s refusal to participate in decisions like which table to buy made her feel like he didn’t care about the family coming together during meal times.

In more expensive real estate markets, a dream home can not only be an asset to be allocated in the divorce, but it can be a highly valuable pawn with both monetary and sentimental implications. Often in these types of cases the home will be sold and the proceeds will be divided in lieu of a compelling argument by either spouse about who should be entitled to keep it or in the event that the space is simply too large or expensive for one person to maintain.

Source: New York Observer, “Until Decorating Do Us Part: When Renovations End in Divorce,” Kim Velsey, March 12, 2014.