Your home may not only be your most valuable asset, but you may also be emotionally invested in it. Because of this, determining who gets to stay in the house during divorce may be extremely difficult. Looking at the specific circumstances of your situation can help you determine that answer.
Comfort and Safety Should Be Your Primary Concern
If domestic violence occurs in your home, you need to take every necessary step to secure your safety. This includes obtaining a protective order from the court, as well as requesting a judge to order your abusive partner to move out. During this entire process, leaving your home temporarily is usually the safest thing you can do. If you have children and they are at risk of the abuse, you should also take them away from the home as well. However, make sure that you obtain a temporary custody order from the court as soon as possible. If you do not obtain this order, you can be accused of kidnapping. For best measure, consult your attorney if you’re in an abusive home and need to leave with your kids.
Even in situations that do not involve abuse, continuing to live with your spouse while going through divorce can be challenging. This can especially be hard on your children if you and your spouse engage in a lot of conflict. When considering to move, child custody and property issues will be front and center.
How Child Custody Factors Into the Issue
Because judges understand that continuous change is often difficult for children, they will attempt to maintain the status quo as much as possible. Often, while divorce proceedings occur, if children remain in the family home, then the parent currently living with them can argue that a change in this arrangement may be too disruptive. In contrast, the other parent can object to being penalized for moving out when it was in the best interests of the children to reduce any conflict in the home. To avoid such an issue, before any parent moves out, create a written agreement with your spouse that establishes a parenting schedule and agrees that by moving out the leaving parent isn’t giving up their rights.
Property and Financial Concerns
One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is stretching income to support two households. This is especially true in tough economic times. Sometimes, couples must continue to live together after divorce because they cannot afford to support an additional household.
The higher-earning spouse that moves out of the family home will also be expected to pay expenses of the previous household, including insurance and mortgage payments. Unfortunately, this often results in a less desirable living situation for the spouse that moves out. In comparison, the spouse that stays in the family home may end up giving property or money to off set the benefit of remaining in the home.
In the end, state laws mandate that martial property is divided equally and fairly in a divorce. This typically means that one spouse will get to keep the home, while the other spouse will receive a comparable value of money or other property.
Here are some alternative short-term options that can help ease financial and parenting problems during a divorce. One option, called “bird-nesting”, allows parents to live in the family home with their children over alternating periods. In this option, parents rotate in and out of the house, while children remain. A second option is to divide up the house into separate occupancy areas. You can even create a schedule for use of any common areas.
Speak to a Fresno Divorce Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can help you through the difficult process of divorce. Contact us today.