In divorce mediation, many issues are addressed regarding parenting, division of assets, financial and spousal support, and others.
One of the issues that comes up quite frequently is whether the family will sell the marital home or whether they will keep it. The idea of selling can be a very emotional and upsetting issue for many reasons. While their parents are breaking up and turning their world upside down, wouldn’t it be better for the children to remain in the same place?
The children are settled in that home.
It is close to their school.
It is close to their friends.
It is a familiar setting.
The instinctive answer is that it very well may be preferable but other circumstances and post-divorce financial arrangements may not make this possible, or may create such financial strain on the parties that another decision may need to be made.
I have encountered several couples that come to my office and off the bat announce that they are not selling the house. It is not my role to tell them if they should or should not sell. Ultimately that decision is theirs, of course.
However, what I can do is help couples look closely at what their financial situation may look like after the divorce, by helping them create post separation budgets. Sure some numbers may not be exact, but in creating one budget for the mother, a separate one for the father and one for the children, including the cost of maintaining 2 separate homes, the couple can now have a more realistic and practical vision of their finances. This may help them with the decision of selling or not selling the home.
Creating budgets can be a painful and tedious process, but it does reveal how much money they will actually need which often surprises them; people usually tend to underestimate their expenses and seeing the numbers black on white may be very shocking. But once you have spent the time doing that work, be assured that you will have a better grasp of the reality, feel more in control and be able to make a well thought out decision regarding the issue of selling the marital home.
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jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 firstname.lastname@example.org connect on