Written by attorney Brent Patrick Bohan

Should I Stay in the Marital Home During Divorce?

One of the biggest decisions you will probably make when your marriage is coming to an end is deciding who is going to stay in the marital home. It is extremely important during a divorce to stay in the marital home, especially for the spouse that spent the majority of the marriage as a stay-at-home parent. A favorable outcome in divorce proceedings is usually predicated on what happens in the early stages of the divorce, so staying in the marital home is essential to winning subsequent divorce proceedings.

The Importance of Staying in the Marital Home

Staying in the marital home has a substantial impact in other areas of the divorce proceedings, other than just keeping the home. If retaining custody of your children is important, then staying in the marital home is crucial. I cannot emphasize that enough. Child custody is determined by looking at which parent provides the most stability. The marital home provides that stability. The children are comfortable there. It is easier to maintain their normal schedules. The person who stays in the marital home demonstrates that he or she is the caretaker of the home, which is an important deciding factor when trying to gain custody of the children. Gaining custody also means that the other spouse will have to pay child support. That can be a big issue if the spouse without majority custody is the spouse that was previously a stay-at-home parent and now has to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month in child support.

I want to give an example of the importance of staying in the marital home during divorce. I had a client a few months ago that had gone through the divorce process and was seeking modification on her child support payments. She had been married for twelve years. Her husband was the primary wage earner while she raised three children. After twelve years of marriage she decided she wanted a divorce. The husband forced her from the home by changing the locks. She had no job and no place to live. Eventually, her husband was awarded custody, the marital home, and child support. The outcome would have been drastically different had she stayed in the marital home, with her children. She would have had primary custody and her husband would be paying child support instead of the other way around.

Hopefully that example demonstrates the importance of staying in the marital home during divorce. If you think your spouse will not leave the marital home, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately to protect your interests. A favorable outcome in divorce proceedings is more likely when you take initial steps to protect your interests and your children. Staying in the marital home is invaluable to helping you obtain a favorable outcome in divorce. An additional word of caution, staying in the marital home does not mean you own everything in the home and the court will look disfavorably on anyone that removes property from the home before the court can make an equitable division.

If you need help or advice in your divorce proceedings we offer a free hour consultation at Bohan Law, PLLC. Our divorce attorneys can be reached at 425-582-0167.

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