I'm Paying Child Support, Do I Still Have to Pay Half of the Mortgage, Too by Don Sinkov{3:06 minutes to read} I get asked this question at least once a week. The answer is, basic child support is supposed to be for food, clothing and shelter, so since shelter is included, I think most lawyers would say you don’t have to pay half of the mortgage, also. The lawyers call it a double shelter allowance.

If you are deferring your interest in the home to a future date, what happens if there is an increased value in the house? If you are not paying 1/2 the mortgage, your equity in the house might be frozen, while your spouse would be entitled to a principal reduction credit and greater share of the equity in the home.

That’s the way lawyers look at it, but what are you trying to accomplish here? If you want the kids and your spouse to stay in the house until the youngest graduates from high school or some other future date, then maybe splitting the mortgage and taxes might work for you both. You would then be entitled to equally sharing the equity in the home.

Often, the spouse living in the home and paying the mortgage isn’t able to afford it with child support. I hear this over and over from people in this situation. If both parents agree it is a good idea to keep the kids in their home even though the parents are divorcing, they both might have to make some compromises like sharing the cost of the mortgage and taxes.

Question: Is paying child support and sharing the cost of the mortgage what lawyers and courts do? Maybe not, but in mediation, if the goal is to keep the kids in the house and not overburden one parent by paying all of the mortgage and taxes; maybe those costs can be shared.

Many couples go to court to have their case decided by a judge. Many couples who go to mediation want to make their own decisions, and those decisions might be different than what a judge would decide. A family court judge once told me, “When I have couples appear before me, I tell them—I don’t know your children. I don’t love your children, and you are asking me to make important decisions regarding them.”

In mediation, the parents, who do know and love their children, are the ones who are making the important decisions for them. And yes, that might mean compromising.

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: Info@YourDivorceMediator.com