who stays in the house after divorce

Who Stays In The House After Divorce?

Often at the beginning of a divorce, one party chooses to move out because they no longer want to be living with the other person.

This can impact later claims that they should be the person awarded the house in the divorce, as the courts tend to lean towards the least disruptive solutions: i.e. leaving people where they are.

On the other hand, if you left to get away from domestic violence, you have a reasonable argument, if made as quickly as possible, that leaving was not a choice but a necessity and that the violent partner should be removed from the residence so you can go back.

The second possible impact is on a claim that the children should reside with you, if at the time you moved out you left the children behind. Again, the courts lean towards least disruptive, so tend to leave children where they are currently living.

If you are not concerned about either of those potential issues, then there may be no reason to choose to remain in an uncomfortable situation. However, you should speak with an attorney before actually making a final decision as there may be other factors you have not considered.

Other times, neither party wants to be the one to move out, but one or both want the other to move out.

In this case a court may be needed to break the impasse. Generally, the first thing a court will look at is whether there has been any domestic violence. If there has, the court will usually require the person who has been violent to move out.

If there has not been any domestic violence, the court will likely turn to the question of whether there is a good reason to separate the parties. In some cases they will find there is no real reason and so simply leave both in the home on a temporary basis until one chooses to move out or a final property division is made (either awarding possession of the house to one party or requiring that it be sold and the proceeds divided).

If the court finds that there is a need to separate the parties, perhaps due to fear of violence, inability to cooperate, to protect the children from conflict, etc., then the court will look for factors to help decide who should be the person to move.

This could be fault based, such as one person is causing most of the conflict, or it could be financial, such as one person has more ability to find a new place to live. Sometimes this is a close call and the court may just seize on some other factor just to have a decision made.

If you are facing issues around moving out of the family residence or getting your partner to move out, call us at 206-784-3049 or use our contact form to set up a meeting with one of our attorneys. We can answer your questions and help you plan your next steps.