When couples decide they will divorce, there’s often a power struggle over the couple’s home, which in many cases is the largest marital asset. One spouse may order the other out of the home. Both spouses may refuse to leave, fearing that by doing so, they are giving up legal rights to the home. They may also not wish to pay for another place to live, or may not feel comfortable allowing the spouse to live in the home alone until things are settled.
By law, you do not have to move out of the home unless and until your spouse gets a court order granting him or her exclusive possession of the home. This is true even if the home is in your spouse’s name only. You may decide it’s best to remain in the home until the divorce is final, and you are legally within your right to do so until the court decides otherwise. You may decide that it’s in the best interests of the children for both of you to remain in the home until the divorce is final, or you may not wish to pay for two households until the financial terms of the divorce are nailed down.
Spouses also fear that if they do decide to move out of the marital home during the divorce, it is considered abandonment. They may worry that by moving out, they lose their right to a percentage of the equity in the home. They may also think that a judge would be more likely to award the home to the spouse who chose to remain in the home.
These are myths. Divorce can be highly contentious, and it’s natural for spouses to not wish to reside in the same home while the divorce is underway. A spouse does not lose abandon his or her interest in the home by moving out.
If you have any questions about divorce in Florida, including who gets the house and how to protect your legal interests in the house, call Florida divorce attorney Dale Bernstein at 727-478-3250. Dale works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in Florida, and will provide you with a consultation on how to protect your legal rights. Call to learn more.