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What is my financial responsibility if I were to vacate the family home in which I am the sole occupant during divorce?

Newport Beach, CA |

My wife moved out a year ago and moved into her parents home rent free. I filed for divorce two months later. My wife decided that she is no longer going to contribute financially to the family residence. The mortgage and expenses are a huge financial burden to me because of that. If I were to vacate the property would the financial responsibility for the property be split in half between us since neither of us will be living there? Would I have to give her any notice of my intentions to vacate this property in advance?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You could notify your wife of your intentions to move out of your jointly owned home, and endeavor to determine what to do with that home. You could incur WATTS Charges for the period of time of your exclusive use of the home, where you alone were enjoying the fair market rental value of the home. You would best inform your wife that you intend to move out of the home, and try to come to agreement to list the house for sale. If it is underwater, you should deal with your lender and a real estate broker in an effort to short-sell the house, which woul be preferable to a foreclosure. If you can afford the mortgage and expenses, yet move out and stop paying the mortgage, that could spell trouble for you at trial for breach of your fiduciary duty to preserve the house, especially if the house has equity in it. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to advise and represent you.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. If you can not make the payments maybe it is time to try and sell the house.

    Call me, I may be able to help

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and I have practiced over 38 years and can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practiced mainly in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. I am not seeking clients from existing relationships with other attorneys, and give only limited advise over the phone (the phone is primarily used to set appointments), these services do not create an attorney client relationship. I apologize for mispelling< as I am a lousy typist, My answers may offend as I do not believe in pulling punches or sugar coating the truth. Further regarding courts in other states my opinions are largely based on logic and what I think is the modern trend which is to consider the needs of the child.


  3. Yes you need her consent and anytime you dispose of or otherwise make a change to its character . The consent needs to be written consent . Absent cooperation, motion the court for an order to sell. Finally, you should consult with local family law attorney beca this is a lot more complicalted than appears . You have rights of reimbursement for using separate property to pay a community debt (tmortgage) and the community has fair market rental value credits perhapstand it may all work out half and half any not. It is just to complicated to address in this forum. Consult iwth a local family law attorney. Best of Luck.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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