Should I stay or go? Dealing with your home during divorce

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) A frequently asked question of divorcing women is should I stay in the house or leave? Can my spouse kick me out of my house? Pending a divorce, the majority of women are better off staying in their homes unless they are victims of domestic violence. Your spouse cannot order you to leave, even if the house is in his name, only the Court can do that.

If you have children, the benefits of staying in the marital home are overwhelming. It gives the children stability and continuity, disrupting their lives as little as possible. This is so important that the courts are sometimes ordering what is called ‘nesting agreements’ having the children remain in the marital home and having the parents move back and forth for parenting times. This arrangement only works for those parents with good relationships and co-parenting skills.

Probably the most important reason to stay in the marital home is psychological. It provides a psychological anchor to you and your children. It also gives a very clear psychological message to your spouse that you are in charge, you won’t be bullied into leaving and that he will be the one to leave. To men, having to vacate a home that he sees as something he provided for his family, sets the tone of the divorce and makes the statement that you will not be snookered into accepting less then your fair share. It puts at a good vantage point for negotiations.

Even if you intend to sell the house and divide the equity it is still a good idea to stay in your home. Keep in mind that if the house is to be sold, and your spouse is living there, it is possible for him to drag his feet about listing it, be uncooperative, and delay the sale and distribution of any equity you are entitled to. This is a common scenario. It may be more work, but you are better off staying in your home while attempting to sell it due to divorce.

Nothing herein constitutes legal advice


(616) 957-3296

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