There are significant advantages to having your spouse move out of the residence after filing a divorce. Part two of this series discusses the option of you moving out of the house, and part one discussed continuing to live together during the divorce. You can find part two here, and part one here. Of the three options, we believe the most benefit to our clients comes when they remain in the home, but there are risks involved in remaining in the home as well.
Staying in the home benefits our clients for several reasons. The hassle of moving out is avoided. The children frequently remain in the house primarily since their rooms and stuff is there, and the children also don’t have to move schools. The household belongings and appliances typically stay with the home since the spouse moving out can rarely take much stuff with him or her, so you don’t have to lay out a lot of cash on new stuff for living. Basically, continuing to live in the home is easier from a logistical standpoint than moving out.
One major risk of remaining in the home involves paying for it. The spouse staying in the house is generally expected to pay for it. That means the utilities, mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance, repairs, HOA fees, and more will all need to be paid. If you stay in the home, be prepared to pay for most or all of it, which might be harder than just moving out and down-sizing. Yes, the other spouse could possibly be ordered to help pay for some of these expenses of staying in the home, but if that is the case, it is unlikely the spouse staying in the house will be able to afford it long-term.
The other main risk of remaining in the home is trying to get the other spouse to leave if he or she doesn’t want to. Generally, when a divorcing spouse requests to be allowed to stay in the marital residence, the courts will order one of the spouses to move out. Keep in mind the court will decide who moves out based on Best Interest of the Children (BIC), who can afford to stay in the house, who is on the mortgage, and other factors the court finds useful in the decision; it’s not a question of who asked first. (Be sure to tune in for the bonus material to follow this post about what happens if there is family violence involved in deciding who stays in the house). If your spouse doesn’t want to move out, he or she might well become quite angry about having to move out, and that can have a negative impact on the proceedings.
In addition to the risks of remaining in the home, you should avoid the mistake of confusing who resides in the marital residence with who has an ownership interest in the home. Just because your spouse moves out does not mean he or she has relinquished his or her ownership in the home. Just because you stay in the house does not mean you have more legal stake in the home than your spouse.
At Youngblood Law, PLLC, we look hard at the options available to our clients when it comes time to move out, stay in, or sell the residence. We will conduct a detailed examination of the financial and marital situation and advise on the best plan for our clients.
Bonus: Get our FREE whitepaper on 10 Things You Need To Plan Before You File For Divorce by clicking HERE.
Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm that uses a holistic approach to help people define their new normal through the divorce process and beyond. This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel. If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC. For more information, contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at www.youngblood-law.com, or on your mobile device, open your browser and type in lawfw.biz and press Go.
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