I am 22 years old, an only child, and haven't lived with my parents (save for the summer months) since I started college in 2017. I am graduated as of 2020 and I have a stable and well paying job in a metro area about 100 miles from where I grew up. over the course of the last year to a year and a half, my parents have gotten a divorce and split up assets relatively evenly (as far as I am aware)

The parent that kept the home paid out half of what it was worth at the time to the other parent that moved away. The problem is that now, the homeowner parent is going to sell the house in a much better housing market than there was when the divorce settlement was made. the non-homeowner is not too happy about this and the homeowner parent has asked me if they should split the profit with their ex-spouse, since it will be relatively significant.

My response was that I didn't really care, that legally it's the homeowners property now, and if the same gain in value had occurred over the course of 15 years instead of 1, I doubt there'd be any issue in the idea of all sale "profits" going to the homeowner and not being split at all. My main point was that if the homeowner felt guilty as a result, then they should resolve that however they see fit, but that it was nothing to do with me at all.

The question that I have is: Is it appropriate to ask of your child, regardless of how stable their life may be, to weigh in on such matters?

How should a child to respond and act in the wake of a divorce? What actions should I be taking to ensure that I have done my responsibility as both the child of the family as well as that of a reasonable and caring adult?

  • I recognize that I may have asked this question in the wrong format for a site like this, or perhaps of the wrong Stack Exchange community entirely. I am new to this community and would appreciate any corrections and advice that the more seasoned members here may have to offer. Jul 13, 2021 at 16:19
  • After doing some more looking, this may be a question for interpersonal.stackexchange.com, which I was previously unaware of. Please don't hesitate to let me know if it should be moved there. Jul 13, 2021 at 16:41
  • You are correct - this isn't a parenting question. I don't think as it stands it would be accepted over on IPR either - you probably need to go and read their site scope fully to see how you'll need to word a question there.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 13, 2021 at 17:33
  • You can ask legal questions on Law.SE, but moral obligations are by their nature opinion-based, which SE sites are not well positioned to help with. Your very final sentence, though, is close to being on topic here - but you'd need to be a bit more specific - see our tour and How to Ask pages for guidance.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 13, 2021 at 17:35
  • @RoryAlsop where might you suggest I post this instead? Or is there no suitable SE Community for a question like this? (if this is the case that seems rather disappointing for such a large network and community that nowhere is available to ask a question like the one I posted. It seems not too unreasonable to be suited for forum discussion imo) Jul 13, 2021 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Is it appropriate to ask of your child ... to weigh in on such matters?

If the child was still a child, no. It is not appropriate for adults to expect a child to be an arbiter between adults.

In this situation that child is a successful, reasonable, functioning adult who knows both parties. Presumably this child is in contact with and has a broadly equal relationship with both parties too. As such it's reasonable to ask on the expectation that said child is an adult and can bring a more fair and positive contribution on family matters. They can also choose if they wish to get involved (or not).

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    This was my general idea as well, tough part would be ensuring that both parties respect the choice of the child to perhaps not be involved. Jul 16, 2021 at 12:43
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    @Anonfornow Yup, your right to decline is just as valid as their right to ask. Jul 19, 2021 at 12:56

youre an adult, so there is no reason to use you as a sounding board but not to ask you to take sides. I was in a similar situation as a child beneficiary of a divorce settlement. A house was bought for myself and my brother as an investment and it went up in value whilst jointly owned. A favouring parent encouraging my brother to buy me out at 50% of its purchase price and happened not to mention that it had increased hugely in value. I was livid to find out that a jointly owned asset had hugely benefitted my brother; so yes, the homeowning parent should be honourable and share their windfall since the house was jointly bought and owned. It may forestall a lot of future bad feeling to do so.

  • If it hadn't increased in value until after you agreed to sell it to your brother, would you still have been as upset? If he bought it out at fair market value at the time, as was the case in my parent's situation, but sold it later would you still be owed that money? I guess that's the tough part for me is that it seems to be pure chance that the house happened to go up in value after all of the settlements had been completed. Regardless, you're right, it really isn't their place to use me as a justification for their choices. Thanks for the answer and the insight with the example! Jul 20, 2021 at 16:17
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    i think thats a valid point, but maintained property always goes up on value, even by a little - so your parents situation was foreseeable. I was 18 and knew little. I would have felt honour-bound to share the windfall, had it been me; however my brother is not me, and my parents also do not share my sense of honour. He was allowed to quietly keep the profit and no one mentioned it for 20 years at which point I found out,and got angry. My parents excuse was "but your brother couldnt have afforded it had he paid a fair market share...." When pointed out he was not honourable Jul 22, 2021 at 8:18

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