Divorce figuratively and physically causes a split within a family. Once the decision has been made to move forward with dissolution, the practicalities of divorce begin to settle in. Who moves out of the home? Who stays? If there are children, who is the primary caregiver? While the family dynamics may push a couple towards one decision over the other, it isn’t an easy discussion to have. Many clients that come in want to discuss the legal implications of moving out first, scared of losing their interest in the family home.
While the circumstances vary depending on specific details of each case, here are a few general things you should know about who moves out during a divorce.
In California, Your Interest Doesn’t Go Away If You Move Out
California is a community property state. This means that any assets you acquire during the course of the marriage are split evenly between each partner. If you acquired your home after you became married and there was not a prenup that changed that interest, then your 50% interest in your home’s equity will not change, even if you move out.
However, the debt you owe on that home also is split 50/50. Therefore, you are still on the hook for your mortgage until you agree otherwise. For many couples, it can be financially difficult to pay half the mortgage and rent on a new property.
You Don’t Have to Move Out Right Away
For couples with children, they find that it is a better transition to “nest” together for a while during a divorce. This works particularly well with a couple whose split is amicable. Nesting consists of both people living together with the children, even while the divorce is moving forward. While some couples choose to do this for a few months, it isn’t unusual for people to do this for up to a year. This allows time to work through financials without the burden of another mortgage or rent payment. Of course, if you and your spouse are constantly at each other’s throats, it may not be the best solution.
What If We Don’t Agree?
It isn’t uncommon for couples to dig their heels in when it comes to moving out. Neither party wants to live with the other, but neither is willing to move out. In this case, we highly recommend the couple come in for mediation. We can discuss the emotional, logistical, and financial aspects of who moves out and develop creative solutions.
Ready to talk about your options? Contact West Coast Family Mediation Center at (858) 736-2411 to schedule a free initial consultation.