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When homes become collateral damage in child custody battles

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Child Custody

Going through a divorce or separation is an emotionally charged situation. When minor children are involved, the stakes get even higher as custody and parenting time arrangements are negotiated. In the heat of these legal battles, a family home can become caught in the legal crossfire, with each parent trying to gain leverage by using the house as a bargaining chip. This can turn a place of family memories into unfortunate collateral damage.

This issue is not just about who gets to spend more time with the kids. It’s also about the stability and security of the family home. In that case, it is worth “being in on the legal know-how” by exploring how child custody disputes can affect home ownership and property.

Protecting children’s well-being

For the parent fighting for custody or parenting time rights, the home may represent stability and familiarity for the children. Keeping them in the same environment post-separation can minimize disruption during an already turbulent time. As a result, some parents are willing to go to great financial lengths to stay in the home, even taking out a new mortgage or draining savings to “buy out” the other spouse’s share.

Untangling property rights

On the other hand, the home’s equity may be one of the couple’s biggest assets. The parent leaving the house may feel keeping those funds liquid is crucial to starting over and providing for the children elsewhere. Forcing a sale against their ex’s wishes becomes a scorched earth tactic to claim their fair share.

The emotional weight of the family home

For those ending a long-term relationship, the division of shared property, like a home, carries heavy emotional weight beyond its monetary value. Throughout the partnership, that house represented dreams, commitment and joint efforts. Negotiating what to do with it means grappling with what your financial and otherwise contributions were truly worth.

While there’s no easy solution, seeking legal services can help ensure that you make decisions thoughtfully and with a keen eye toward the future.