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Who Has to Move Out of the Family Home in a Divorce?

Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC July 19, 2023

Man and woman are signing divorce agreementMany married couples own a family home together. Under the law, the house usually belongs to both spouses if it was acquired during the course of the marriage. Because both spouses are joint owners of the home, the question, “Who has to move out of the family home in a divorce?” will arise sooner or later.  

A divorce can take months or even years, which is why continuing to live under the same roof may not be the most desirable option. However, before you move out of the family home, you need to consider the potential legal ramifications of moving out.  

If you are considering filing for divorce or are in the midst of one and living under the same roof has become unbearable, you might want to reach out to a divorce attorney to discuss your options. Steven L. Rotenberg can explain your rights and advise you on how moving out could affect certain issues during your divorce. Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC serves Bingham Farms, Michigan, as well as Pontiac, Monroe, Mount Clemens, and the metro Detroit area.  

Considerations Before Moving Out

In most cases, both spouses share an ownership interest in the family home. This means neither spouse can be forced to leave the house unless a judge orders otherwise.  

There are five main considerations to make when deciding who should move out of the family home in a divorce. If you no longer wish to continue living together, consider the following: 

  1. Safety. If you are experiencing domestic violence or were abused by your spouse in the past, moving out may be necessary to secure your safety. You also have a right to request a Personal Protection Order if you have been abused or threatened with abuse by your spouse. If the order is granted, it will most likely force your spouse to move out.  

  1. Comfort. Needless to say, living under the same roof with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse can be an uncomfortable situation for both parties. Continuing to live together while your divorce case is pending can also become a breeding ground for conflict and arguments.  

  1. Children. Continuing to live together with your spouse after filing for divorce can also take a toll on your children. While some parents argue that they stay in the same home for the sake of their children, they may be doing more harm than good.  

  1. Costs. Moving out can be a costly decision, especially if you have no friends or relatives to stay with for a while. In this case, moving out means finding a rental or living in hotels, which can eat into your savings.  

  1. Abandonment. If you choose to move out, you need to do it properly to avoid facing a claim of abandonment. Moving out can result in a claim of abandonment if you suddenly disappear without communicating the matter, stopping to pay the bills, and failing to provide any assistance to your children.  

As you can see, the decision to move out should not be taken lightly. You might want to discuss your unique situation with a family law attorney to determine whether moving out would be appropriate.  

Options for What to Do With the Family Home

When it comes to splitting the family home in a divorce, the couple needs to decide what to do with the house. There are several options to choose from:  

  • Both stay in the home. In a very unlikely scenario, both spouses can choose to stay in the home even after their divorce is finalized.  

  • Sell the home. A common option is selling the family home and dividing the proceeds between the spouses.  

  • One spouse buys the other out. Another common option is for one spouse to buy out the other spouse’s share of the property to become the sole owner.  

  • Refinance. When spouses have a joint mortgage, they can decide to refinance to a new mortgage in one of the spouses’ names.  

  • Delay the sale. Couples may also choose to delay the sale of the home. In this scenario, one party (in most cases, the custodial parent) remains in the home until the youngest child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Then, the home is sold and the proceeds are divided between the parties.  

You might want to get legal guidance from an experienced attorney when deciding what to do with the house.  

Trusted Legal Guidance 

When getting a divorce, it is important to consider the benefits and potential risks of moving out of the family home. A skilled attorney can help you make the right decision based on your particular circumstances. Schedule a consultation by contacting Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC today.