Cupid's Pulse Article: To Move or Not to Move? Why This Decision Is Tough on KidsCupid's Pulse Article: To Move or Not to Move? Why This Decision Is Tough on Kids

By Michele Sfakianos, RN, BSN for Hope After Divorce

Divorce is one of those life events that forces huge changes in your life, whether you like it or not. During a divorce, a decision will need to be made on living arrangements. Let the court decide who needs to move out and what will happen with the home. Sometimes, one spouse will offer to move out but wants their part of the equity in the house. The partner who stays put may have to put it up for sale in order to pay the other partner unless they can refinance, thus adding the amount of equity onto the mortgage.

Definitely get some legal advice before you make your choice. Leaving the home before the court date might have a detrimental effect on the outcome. Couples will want to communicate in a responsible manner to find a way to share the residence. If there’s too much disagreement, then another solution may be necessary…but you still need a professional opinion before packing up those boxes.

Since they have just announced their desire to divorce, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are one such couple who will be considering the effect moving will have on their two young children. Hopefully, through their “consciously uncoupling,” the transition will be as smooth as possible for their kids — as well as themselves.

Related Link: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin Separate

There are times in each child’s life when a change like moving to a new school, city, or state can be devastating. A young kid depends on the security of their home and school, while a teenager may simply want to finish high school with their friends. You need to take these situations into account when making your plans. The parent who has the children a majority of the time should do their best to stay put.

With divorce, the furnishings are often divided, which may leave the family home empty. Since it is your kids’ house too, you should try to include them in the decorating decisions. This approach helps them to feel valued. Listen to the child’s needs and tastes. It also provides opportunities for two important activities:

1. Education: You may know that it’s an antique chair, but for your children, it’s an old ugly chair until you teach them about the distinguishing signs and history.

2. Shopping: Head to local flea markets, auctions, or estate sales for old furniture. Refinish or repaint the old dresser. Your kids will feel like a part of the process and enjoy using the item they helped refinish.

Once you’re finished decorating, throw a party and show off the new look of your place. By celebrating, you are showing the children that you love and respect their help and that everyone can enjoy the newly decorated home.

Related Link: What Now? Transitioning From Married to Single

If you must move, understand that a new place will not fix everything. Moving is traumatic and expensive, and when everyone has to move, someone will be upset. Yes, the new house may have clean paint and a fresh look, but those moving into it are still the same people. After the movers are gone, you may find yourselves standing around and looking at each other thinking, “What now?” Post-Move Syndrome Letdown (PMSL) is common.

Hang in there and try to enjoy setting up your new home. Make sure to include everyone. If you see your children having difficulty adjusting to a different home or community, address it immediately. Find someone for them to talk to. Be supportive and encouraging and let your children know that you’ll be with them every step of the way.

For more information about Hope After Divorce, click here.

Michele Sfakianos, RN, BSN, is a Registered Nurse, Life Skills Expert, Speaker and Award Winning Author. She is the owner of Open Pages Publishing, which includes her series of “The 4-1-1” books on Life Skills, Step Parenting, and Surviving Teenhood. Michele is a contributing expert for,,, and