Am I Abandoning My Marital Assets if I Move Out of the Family Home?
One of the most complicated issues with which divorcing couples are required to grapple is who, if anyone, will retain the family home after filing for divorce. This can be a difficult conversation, especially because a couple’s marital home is often their most valuable asset, so many spouses fear that if they move out of the house, they are somehow giving up the right to that property. Fortunately, this is not the case, although dividing the family home in divorce is a complex process, so if you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage and you have questions about the fate of the family home, it is critical to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale property division attorney who can address your concerns.
Who Will Retain the Family Home?
Most couples who decide to divorce are able to come to an agreement on who will move out of the home while the divorce is pending. In many cases, this decision is largely determined by which parent will be primarily responsible for the care of the couple’s children until the divorce is finalized, while in others, a couple could even agree to continue to live in the same residence until the home is sold. Whatever the decision, it will not usually impact who will ultimately retain what portion of that asset. Still, relocating can come with important implications, as it could affect whether the party who moves out is required to help pay for household expenses and child support on a temporary basis.
Is the House Marital Property?
If a couple buys a house while married, that asset will almost always be considered a marital asset, which means that it must be divided equitably upon divorce. If, however, only one spouse purchased a house before getting married, a court could decide that the asset will remain in that person’s sole possession as separate property, but only if the other spouse did not help contribute to the household in any way.
In the event that an asset is found to be marital property, then the parties will need to divide it equitably, which could take many forms. For instance, some spouses choose to sell their home and divide the assets equally, while others may agree to leave the home in the possession of one of the spouses in exchange for a greater portion of a different asset. Ultimately, how the value of the family home is divided depends on the parties’ specific circumstances.
Does Moving Out Qualify as Abandonment?
Many divorcing couples worry that by moving out of their home they are essentially abandoning their right to that property. Fortunately, this is not true, as a court will only consider a person as having abandoned his or her residence if that individual is ordered to financially contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the home and fails to do so, or refuses to pay child support if the couple share children.
Contact an Experienced Property Division Lawyer
Moving out of the family home can have a significant impact on family relationships, namely those between the relocating parent and his or her children and could even impact the property division process. For this reason, divorcing couples should take great care when making this decision. To learn more about how moving out of the family home could affect your own divorce, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today for an initial consultation.