Even the most cordial divorces will likely involve some conflict over the marital home. If you are contemplating filing for divorce, you have probably wondered what will happen to your home. Alternatively, if you were just served with divorce papers, you may be wondering what to do next. In this article, we will answer some of these critical questions.
In the absence of immediate danger, you should not change locks to keep out a spouse. If the marital home is community property, a court will award the house to one of the spouses during final proceedings. When making this judgment, the Court may look unfavorably upon past behavior such as locking a spouse out of the marital home. If you find yourself intentionally locked out of the marital home, you should first secure temporary living arrangements, then contact an experienced family law attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to improve your immediate living circumstances during a temporary orders hearing. Then, a court may either award you the right to live in the marital home temporarily, or order that your spouse pays for temporary living accommodations.
Whichever spouse stays in the marital home during proceedings will likely be responsible for paying related bills and expenses. Therefore that spouse should be able to afford costs such as utilities, yard maintenance, and pool upkeep. If not, the spouse who continues to live in the home during temporary orders must qualify to receive enough support from the other spouse to maintain the marital home until the Court determines the ownership of the property. Since the Court’s goal throughout your case will be to minimize contentiousness and disruption, the spouse that is allowed to stay in the marital home during temporary orders will likely be granted the right to reside there permanently. Hiring an experienced family law attorney could enable you to continue living in the marital home during temporary orders, and consequently, after the filing of a final decree.
You should be cautious when considering removing a spouse from shared accounts. It could be viewed as being spiteful, which will likely be frowned upon by the Court. It is advisable to consult an experienced family law attorney before making decisions of this nature.
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