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Your Home

What to do with the home may be the single most significant financial consideration of a divorce, not to mention how emotionally difficult it may be to part with it. Here we provide some things you should be aware of when thinking about what to do with your home.

Should I Keep the House After Divorce?

By Carolyn Gwynn

Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Your Home | 0 comments

I’ve found a terrific resource, The Women’s Institute for Financial Education (www.wife.org.) founded by Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall, renowned experts in women’s finances. They share a passion for helping women connect with resources to help them prosper and grow financially. It did not take long to find this practical advice on decision making points regarding the family home.   Read on…...

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Divorce: Fighting for the marital home? 5 things to consider

By Carolyn Gwynn

Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Your Home | 0 comments

Recently I represented Buyers in a transaction where a Seller wrote us the following in an email:  “I purchased this home after I filed for divorce…  I had no choice because I wanted to provide my daughter a comfortable home”.  I felt very sad for the Seller as somehow she managed to convince herself that she had “no choice”  but to spend $1.9M to make her daughter comfortable.  She sold that home 5 years later to my Client for $1.645M and paid $80,000 in real estate commissions to boot. I’m thinking her now 20 year old daughter is wondering why her mom felt she needed to live in such a large home.  Did the Seller have a financial planner or did she choose not to listen?  I’ll never know.  But I do know I never want a Client of mine to be there.  Knee-jerk reactions to divorce that include buying and selling homes should always be carefully and thoughtfully planned with the advice of professionals. Thought you might enjoy this article: Divorce: Fighting for the marital home? 5 things to consider April 15, 2013 by Hannah Foxley 5 things to think about if you fight for the marital home The upheaval and emotional turmoil of divorce means that decisions are often made in an emotional state rather than with a logical mind. Many women battle to hang on to the marital home because they feel that they don’t want further upheaval to themselves or their children but at what cost? I know of many horror stories of women who have held onto the marital home for dear life to their detriment. They have found that they are unable to afford to run the marital home on their own and then due to the economic situation have been unable to sell it for what it was valued at on divorce. Here are 5 things to consider when deciding whether or not to fight for the marital home in the divorce settlement. 1.  Can you afford to take on the mortgage? A mortgage is a huge financial burden and having to pay it on your own without a second income can be too much of a financial strain. It may be that you are unable to get a mortgage due to your income being insufficient. If you are not earning enough to take on the mortgage and are receiving maintenance payments, this can be tricky to navigate.  Some lenders will take account of the maintenance payments, some will not, some will want to see it being paid for three months, some for six months. Can you genuinely afford to take on such a huge burden? Your emotions may be telling you that you will manage but the reality is that you may find yourself scrimping and saving and depriving yourself and the children of any treats and holidays just to make ends meet. Is it really worth it? 2. Can you afford the upkeep? There are on going costs associated with keeping a property. If you live in an older house, these are going to be particularly heavy on your purse strings. New heating systems, repairs to the outside and inside of the house, costs of maintaining the garden, the cost of redecoration and new furniture all add up. If you have...

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Fighting to keep the family home in lieu of a pension

By Carolyn Gwynn

Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Your Home | 0 comments

I read an article in The Telegraph earlier this year titled “Top five financial mistakes women make in divorce” and number 1 on the list: Fighting to keep the family home in lieu of a pension Women often have an emotional attachment to the family home, especially when there are children involved. However, taking on the whole mortgage can have disastrous financial consequences if it is not affordable. Mary Waring, a financial adviser at Informed Choice Financial Planning, said women are often better off downsizing to a smaller property and taking a share of their partner’s pension. Ms Waring said: “Wives often ignore pensions and focus on the house but in many cases that is not the right thing to do. It is important to ensure you have something to support your retirement, especially if you have been a stay at home mom.” Of course every situation is different.  Many times in divorce the woman is an equal or main breadwinner, but in the majority of divorces they are not.  Women in transition may have a long list of reasons for keeping the family home.  Those reasons are very real.  However it’s best to speak with a professional to ensure you are not sacrificing future stability for that big house.  Women going through divorce may place too much emphasis on “appearances” and wanting to keep the family home for the children.  Sitting down with a financial planner and doing projections is the best advice I can give my Clients when deciding whether to stay in the family home or go somewhere more financially comfortable.  Financial strain can be crippling and much more harmful to a child than...

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How Old is Old Enough to Leave a Child Home Alone?

By Carolyn Gwynn

Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Your Home | 0 comments

A client who just relocated from another state to this area asked me the other day “at what age can we leave our kids home alone in the state of California?”  Great question!  I know all of us parents have wondered this same thing at some time or another, and now, through this transitional time, when it is more likely your kids may be coming home to an empty house or needing to be left home alone …. I thought these two articles might be of great value to you ….. How Old is Old Enough to Leave a Child Home Alone? In the state of California there is no legal age stipulated however there are some guidelines to help you decide if your child is ready to be left alone. The following guidelines are from the National Network for Child Care. There is no single answer to “how old is old enough”. No magical age or single indicator that ensures a child is ready to stay at home alone (or with younger siblings). Some states have made laws that specify an age (e.g. 10 years old) below which it is illegal to leave children alone. Other states (such as California) do not set a specific age, but rather, consider the maturity level of the child. The following are questions to ask yourself about how fit  your child is to remain alone (or with siblings). We suggest that as a caretaker, you consider only a child over 10 years old to be ready for consideration. Yes or No: The child can identify two escape routes from the house in case of fire Yes or No: The child can handle telephone calls correctly. Yes or No: The child has demonstrated correct procedures for handling strangers at the door. Yes or No: The child knows how to reach parents or other responsible adults by phone. Yes or No: The child can name two adults to contact in case of an emergency. Yes or No: The child will tell parents or child care providers about daily events without prompting. Yes or No: The child can locate a safe place to seek shelter during a storm. Yes or No: The child can name five household rules and identify which ones were followed the previous weeks.   Self-Care Readiness Checklist: Yes or No: The child can give his or her address and directions to home. Yes or No: The child can repeat and dial the home phone number. Yes or No: The child can explain how to handle first aid for cuts and scrapes, bums, nosebleeds, poisoning bites, choking, and eye injuries. Yes or No: The child knows where to locate first aid supplies kept in the house. Yes or No: The child can give an example of a time when they had to figure out and decide what the right thing to do without adult input. Yes or No: The child has indicated an interest or willingness to stay on his or her own. Yes or No: If other children will be present, the children are willing to stay alone with each other and fighting is at a tolerable level.   The child….. Completes household chores Hardly ever    Sometimes    Often    Most of the time     Always Completes homework Hardly ever    Sometimes...

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