In this series, we’ve been talking about the three most frequently asked questions that I get from people and now we’re on to the questions that people should be asking. Question number two that people should be asking is “should I leave the marital home?” And the answer for this actually can vary from situation to situation.
If it’s your intent to keep the marital residence, frequently it’s recommended that you not leave it and while there is nothing to preclude the court from doing so, courts are usually reluctant to end the case with the final order ordering one spouse to leave so the other spouse can move back into a residence. So ultimately your best chances of keeping the marital residence if that’s what you’re interested in doing is not to leave it at all. But there are some important considerations that go into this decision to begin with and it’s important to remember that the decision to keep or not keep the marital residence really is a very important financial decision.
There are a number of factors that need to be considered before making the decision including is the residence under water or in other words, is it worth less than what is owed on the mortgage. Another consideration is whether or not you have sufficient income in order to support the residence, pay the associated cost including mortgage payments, insurance if there are homeowner’s dues, and those types of things and finally if you can afford to make any of the upcoming major repair such as replacing a roof, etc.
So the final note that I would have and this goes against what I had initially recommended about staying in the marital home and that has to do with situations involving domestic violence and if you’re in a situation where you are concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, nothing trumps that. If you are concerned for your safety, there are things that can be done to get your spouse out of the home but if you’re concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, leave the house now and we can deal with that once you’re in a position where we know that you’re going to be safe. Nothing, nothing is more important than the safety of yourself and your children. So that is the second question that people should be asking when they’re facing a divorce.