If you are headed for divorce, you will have to decide who will stay in the house over the short-term, who will pay the lease or mortgage, and what will happen to the home. These are important factors to consider and you don't want to make a quick decision without first consulting with an experienced divorce attorney.
Are you the breadwinner? If so, will you continue paying for your spouse's housing while your divorce is pending in the courts? Can you reasonably afford to pay for their housing while you pay for a second apartment or condo for yourself?
As you'll soon find out, one of the biggest challenges for divorcing couples is making enough income to support two households. If money is tight, divorcing couples may decide to continue living together in the family home because they simply don't have the funds to support two households.
If a higher-earning spouse, especially main breadwinner, decides to move out of the family home, he or she will have to expect to continue paying for many of their spouse's living expenses, including the lease or mortgage and insurance.
Often, this means the higher-earning spouse ends up making many personal and financial sacrifices, which are less than desirable.
Moving Out and Rights to the Home
If the higher-earning spouse moves out of the family home, they may have to continue paying the household expenses, but that does not mean that the lower-earning spouse will receive the house when the marital property is ultimately divided.
Pennsylvania is an equitable division state and moving out does not reduce or eliminate a spouse's rights to their interest in the marital property, including the family residence. Under state law, marital property in a divorce is divided in a fair and equitable fashion.
So, if a spouse ends up keeping a house, the other spouse receives some other money or property that is equal in value. Often, spouses decide to sell the home and split the proceeds, or one spouse buys the other spouse out of their interest in the marital home.
If it looks like you'll be moving out and your spouse will stay in the home during the separation and divorce, it does not mean that your spouse will likely receive the house in the divorce.
Considerations for Child Custody
If you have children with your spouse, you have to consider how moving out can affect child custody. Often, moving out will weaken a parent's claim towards child custody because it's showing the courts that their spouse is perfectly capable of caring for the children most of the time.
If you're thinking about leaving the family residence, wait until after you ask the court for a shared parenting schedule that gives you significant time with your children. If you're eager to move, the sooner you address shared parenting time, the better. This way, shared parenting becomes your family's new status quo and you're showing the court that you care about seeing your children.
Learn more about your rights to the marital residence during a divorce by contacting our Pennsylvania divorce law firm, the top choice for affordable divorces!