Should You Keep The House?

Today, a post with some things to consider about the family home.  It’s still common in the part of the country in which I live, for more moms than dads to have primary physical care of the children after divorce.  Because they want to keep the children in the home they are used to, many moms decide to remain in the family home.

Financial problems can arise down the road, however, because moms still have, in general, lower income than dads.  I bet you already see where I’m going with this one, right?

I can’t blame anyone for wanting to keep the family home after divorce.  I understand why you’d want to provide a stable home for the kids.

But it’s super important to consider whether you can really afford the home in the long-term.

It may be best to move out if you do the projections and see that if your income does not substantially increase,  you’re headed for either forclosure or  inability to maintain the home.  Moms (and people in general) underestimate the amount of money it takes to keep a home going and in good condition.  Paint, plumbing, siding, new roof, new water heater, air conditioner, furnace, the ceiling needs repairs, the basement starts leaking and before you know it, you’re talking large amounnts of money that you might not have.

Renting a place might give you a better fresh start and be less expensive, even if it doesn’t seem to be, only looking at monthly rent figures.

I understand (believe me — I do understand, ask me how I know all this) that it’s very emotional to imagine leaving the home and having to move your children.  But sometimes it makes more sense and will be less stressful in the long term to leave.

Should you keep the house?  I can’t tell you yes or no, it depends on your individual financial circumstances.  But it is not always as simple a decision as it first appears to be.  Too many moms keep the home, only to have it sink them financially, and create more stress in their lives.  If you aren’t sure what to do, please see a financial counselor with a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) designation after their name. These are trained financial professionals that will run financial scenarios for you and show you in black and white where you’ll be financially if things stay as they are income-wise, and you remain or leave the home.  If nothing more, you’ll know you made the decision with eyes wide open, and that’s usually a better way to make decisions than uninformed and  in the dark.