If you’ve decided to file for divorce, you may want to move out of your marital home as soon as possible to get away from your spouse. However, if you can't afford to move and your husband refuses to leave, you still have options. Spouses who do not have the financial resources to move out can still get a divorce, and the court may help by ordering their husbands to pay spousal support or turn over the marital home to the wife.
You don’t necessarily have to leave your home just because your husband wants a divorce, even if the house is in his name. State laws vary, but spouses commonly have equal rights to live in the marital home. In many states, property acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both spouses. However, if your spouse owned the house prior to your marriage, it may be considered his separate property, and he may be able to force you to leave.
If you don’t wish to live in the same house with your husband, you can file a motion in some states asking the court to give you exclusive possession of the marital home by ordering your spouse to move out. While this is within a divorce court’s authority, it is uncommon unless your husband’s presence in your home is mentally or physically unhealthy for you or your children. For example, a New Jersey court granted a husband’s request to force his wife to move out, saying she was a bad influence on their teenage son because she had an affair with a young man who had lived in their home.
Depending on your state’s laws, your divorce court may have authority to grant your motion for “pendente lite” alimony or spousal support, sometimes called temporary alimony. Such alimony is temporarily awarded to provide support while your divorce is pending, particularly if your divorce is expected to take many months to complete, and you could use the money to pay for a place of your own. You can ask the court for monthly payments or a lump sum sufficient to cover your moving expenses.
The family court in your state may also have authority to award alimony or spousal support to be paid after your divorce is final. Rehabilitative alimony may provide you with income to live on while you acquire education or job skills to make you better able to support yourself. Courts may even award permanent alimony for you to live on until you remarry. Courts typically do not apply a set formula to such alimony decisions, but consider factors such as the length of your marriage, your age and health, your income and that of your spouse and the contributions you made to your spouse’s earning capacity.
- Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC: Family Law Source: Exclusive Possession of Marital Residence
- Michael L. Resnick: Exclusive Possession of Marital Home
- National Paralegal College: Types of Alimony/Spousal Support
- Utah State Courts: How to Get a Temporary Order
- Pamela S. Wynn, LLC: Florida Permanent Alimony Law Changes Again
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images