On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Equitable Distribution on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Should you move out of the house before the divorce is over? One couple was recently ordered to build a wall inside their house to separate them. Many clients wonder if moving out helps or hurts their case. Others wonder if they are losing rights.

Sometimes the arguing gets too intense, and the court must intervene. For one couple in Brooklyn, their arguing resulted in their being ordered to build a wall dividing their home so each could stay in the house peacefully.

This was not just a simple line on the floor as in the 1989 movie: War of the Roses, but an actual wall of plywood and sheetrock through the middle of their house (see picture above). Interestingly, the judge gave the wife the kitchen and the husband the dining room.

The marital home a valuable asset, maybe your most valuable asset, but it is also a place for you to live in . . . with your children – if you have them. Third it is an important, and possibly big part, of the final settlement.

Marital Asset

The home remains a marital asset, which is subject to equitable distribution, regardless of who lives there during the divorce process. If a home is marital then both parties have equal rights to buy – out the other’s share. Both may also be on the hook for liabilities.

Children’s Issues

Until a parenting plan in place, if you are interested in maintaining a meaningful relationship in your child’s life, leaving the home before a timesharing agreement is entered may show a lack of real interest in the child’s daily life. Moving out can create the appearance of a new ‘primary residential parent’ by default. Worse, if the process takes a long time, it creates a new status quo.

Cost

The person leaving may still have to contribute for the expenses of the home while also paying for a new home. It can be costly, and prohibitive expensive when you know that the process will take a long time.

Settlement

Staying in the same home could create an incentive to negotiate a final settlement because living with your soon to be ex-spouse is very uncomfortable. However, if someone moves out, the person remaining in the home is sitting pretty and may be less inclined to settle.

If you Leave

Before moving out, there should be some discussions about maintaining the home and who is paying for which expenses, an inventory should be made of the personal property, artwork, silverware etc., and the boundaries for when the ‘out-spouse’ can use and enjoy the home after vacation

More about the crazy Brooklyn divorce and the separation wall can be read at NBC’s website here.

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