When divorce leaves you and the kids homeless

Sometimes, divorce leaves a parent homeless. It may not happen right away, but over time, (and not such a long time) a custodial parent could find themselves unable to pay the rent or mortgage and end up without a home. And when that happens, the kids’ lives are in peril pretty quick. This happens not so much in high net worth cases (like, say, Countess Marie Douglas David and her ex-hubby George David) , but in those fringe-economic cases (middle class and working class families) where the main breadwinner (usually the father) is gone, and for some reason stops paying child support. homelssmanSometimes the reason is legitimate (he lost his job) but other times, he (or she!) just takes off and the family can’t locate him. He moves to another state, loses himself in another country, or just straight up stops working and stops contacting the kids or assisting with their care and welfare. Or he or she could literally die. I mean, it happens.

A custodial parent in this situation will obviously find him or herself on the welfare rolls pretty quickly. But sometimes welfare funds are  not enough. And even so, there are often other exacerbating circumstances, such as drug use or addiction (of the custodial parent) and/or mental illness (including depression that stems from the divorce) that could cause this situation to unfold and worsen rather rapidly.

That is why counseling is so important pre and post divorce. Not everyone has the same coping skills and there is no shame in seeking help to avoid this type of tragedy. Also, as far as the finances, it is so important to try to find a source of income as soon as possible even if one is scheduled to receive spousal/child support. Because putting your entire survival and existence in the hand of another human being can be a dangerous thing. I think. I mean, in this economy, it is not always easy to find work. Sometimes one has to create the work for oneself. There are tons of “work at home” set ups for enterprising people that divorcees ought to explore.

But do not be ashamed to get public assistance if that is what you need to get you to the next level. Sometimes you have no choice and it sure beats homelessness, doesn’t it? Especially with young kids?

As for the dead beat? If you are dealing with a dead beat there are certain safety nets you can utilize such as putting parachute clauses in your divorce settlement that go to the issue of insurance and wills and stuff like that. Plus, with a social security number there is a lot of policing that can be done with that. And these days, with the Internet, it is more and more difficult for people to just disappear. It can still happen. He can move to Guadalajara Mexico and then what? Is there even extradition? But it is getting more and more difficult for folks to pull that off. (One of the benefits of globalization).

But yea. I can’t say I’ve actually had any clients who that has happened to. But I can totally see how something like this can happen. And it is so disruptive for the kids as far as school and stuff like that. So do you best to put mechanisms in place to avoid this, far-fetched though it may seem at the moment.

This post is reposted on November 17, 2010. The Original post was posted on September 11, 2009

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3 Responses to "When divorce leaves you and the kids homeless"

  1. Troy   September 12, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I find it to be very informative. I am currently in a similar situation. I am the non-custodial parent however, i believe that Ive been very generous to my spouse considering the circumstances. After my separation, I continued to pay the mortgage for 2 years, but as we all see things are not what they used to be 2 years ago. The whole economy turned upside down. With that said, I could not afford to pay the mortgage any longer while maintaining my own expenses. My spouse have never contributed to mortgage and therefore had no intention to start now. I believe that some women feel as though their spouse owes them after separation which I don’t agree with at all.Anyway, we are still working through the ruffles of the divorce and will let you know the outcome. Thanks

  2. Online Divorce   November 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Divorce can cause way more damage than it may seem on the surface. Not just financially and emotionally… but physical damage as well. Being left out in the clod is not healthy for anyone.

  3. Jonathon   December 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you for some info. I am not a Christian am willing to accept church help. My wife broke the words to me last night after 8 years. I have a 7 year old son that I came into the marriage with full custody of. Been unemployed 2 and 1/2 years and in college full time for criminal justice, no where to go. She will force me onto the streets and police will take my son into foster care.

    I am drug and alcohol free and don’t beat her. I don’t cheat, either, just mean spirited and took her for granted and talked mean. I feel betrayed and soooo sad and lost. I need practical advice, no disrespect for your religous beliefs but I need some advice that works. What will become of me and my son? Where can I go for assistance? She won’t be required to pay child support, not bio-mom, who is dead.
    Washington state, btw.


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