Should I Stay in my House for the Kids?

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When dealing with divorce, many of our clients want to make the disruption to their children as minimal as possible. One question that often comes up is: should I stay in the house for my children? It is a difficult question to answer and dependent on your specific circumstances. In a perfect world, staying in the house with the kids may be the best option. Divorce is hard enough and moving to a new home with the children is another adjustment that may be difficult. First, can you afford the mortgage payment or rent on your current home? You may want to stay, but you need to have a clear understanding of the financial picture. Do you have the funds necessary to continue making the payments and pay other bills, or are you dependent on your spouse’s income to pay these expenses?  If expenses were tight when you were a two-income family, then it may not be possible for either one of you to stay in the house. If you do move, what options are available? Often renting a home is a higher monthly expense than making the monthly mortgage payments.

Even if you are expecting to receive alimony, do you want to be dependent on that money to make the monthly payments? If there is equity in the house, your settlement or court order may require you to pay half of the equity to your spouse. Does this change the picture for you at all? Do you have to refinance to get your spouse’s name off the mortgage?

You may want to stay in the house because moving will change the school your child attends. This is usually the consideration that carries the most weight for parents. If this is the case, then have an open and honest conversation with your spouse. It may involve compromise.

We encourage you to come up with a plan. Decide on a budget. If you don’t know where to start, look at past expenses from your bank statements or credit card statements. Enlist the help of a financial advisor or a divorce financial analyst. Do some research on you own and educate yourself. It is also a good idea to have a conversation with a mortgage broker to determine if you can refinance the mortgage on your own and to know the interest rate and monthly payment. Finally, make sure you speak to a divorce attorney prior to making your decision so you can understand the temporary and permanent consequences of your decision.

If you have any questions related to this article or a question related to divorce, please contact us at 704-243-9693 or visit us at

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