Should I Keep the Marital Home in Our Divorce for the Sake of the Kids?
Deciding what to do with the family home can be a challenging part of a divorce. When both parties agree on what to do—either one party buying out the other or selling the home and splitting the proceeds—everything goes smoothly. But when both parties want the home or one party wants to sell, tensions grow. A lot comes down to your financial status and how easily you could afford to keep up with mortgage payments and other expenses.
If you’re trying to decide what the best move for your family is, consider the benefits and drawbacks of keeping the marital home. For more personalized advice regarding your divorce, call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500.
The Kids’ School District and Social Network
For many parents, the deciding factor is their children’s school district and friendships. In many areas, you cannot choose to enroll your child in an outside school district—it is solely determined by where you live. If you have children old enough to be established in their assigned schools, that may be a major factor in deciding whether or not to keep the marital home.
Even if your children aren’t yet old enough for school, you may be lucky enough to own a home in a high-rated school district. If so, you may be unwilling to give up the chance for your children to grow up in a great school district.
Your kids’ social network is another important aspect to consider. Divorce is hard on children of all ages and taking away their support network at the same time can make it even more difficult for them to adjust.
The Financial Aspect
No matter how much you may want to keep the marital home, you have to think long and hard about how you can afford it. If you are the higher-earning spouse in your marriage, this may not even be an issue. However, if your spouse far out-earns you and you cannot qualify for the mortgage on your own, you may need to negotiate.
If you cannot afford the home on your own but you are determined to keep the home, this is something to discuss with your attorney. You may be able to exchange ownership of the house for lower alimony or a lower portion of other marital assets. If your co-parent recognizes the benefit of keeping your children in the same home for their formative years, they may be willing to see your side of the issue.
Consider Your Emotions Throughout This Process
While it is important to think about your children’s needs, don’t forget to think about what is best for you. Some people have no trouble continuing to live in the marital home after divorce. They remodel the house to be entirely their own and move into the future without looking back.
For others, it’s hard to separate the home and the memories it contains from their marriage. This is particularly true if the person staying in the home is not the person who wanted the divorce. Even if you think it may be best for your children to stay in their home, you don’t have to sacrifice your own mental and emotional wellbeing by staying in a home where you do not feel comfortable.
Consistency or a Fresh Start?
Basically, there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. Every situation is unique, and no one can look in from the outside and tell you definitively what you should do. Maybe you chose your marital home as your forever home, and you are willing to do whatever you must to keep it. Maybe you know your children thrive there and have access to a great school district.
But it’s equally possible that you are drained from years spent in a home where you were mistreated, ignored, or worn down. In that case, no one would fault you for wanting a fresh start in your own home or apartment. Even if you think it might be best for your children to stay in their family hone, you also have to think of yourself. Children are resilient, and they fare best with parents who are happy and mentally healthy.
Look at the entire picture, weigh your options, and consider what you will have to give up in either scenario. Your attorney can also help you compare your options and guide you in the right direction.
Choose Kirk Drennan Law for Your Divorce Case
Divorce is not easy, but it can be less stressful if you have a strong attorney on your side. That’s where we can help. To set up a consultation, call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500 or contact our team online.
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