All too often, a client's first reaction to being served with divorce papers is to pack a bag and leave the marital home. While understandable, it is often completely unnecessary and may even damage your case as the divorce progresses.
A common misconception in divorces is that the Respondent, or party served with the petition, must vacate the marital home once the case begins. Not only is this often impractical, it is incorrect. Florida Statutes Chapter 61.075(1) governs the use and possession of the marital home in dissolution cases. Either spouse has a right to remain in the marital home-- there is no preference given to the husband or wife on the basis of gender.
There are many reason to remain in the marital home during a divorce-- to avoid disrupting children's routines, to protect assets contained in the home, the upkeep of the home itself and to avoid spending unnecessary extra money during an already stressful time. Divorce is never easy, and having to coordinate the stress of moving right away will only worsen the strain.
Leaving the marital home may also affect a party's claim to the property later on. Once a party leaves, it can be more difficult for them to return, or for them to raise a claim that they have a greater need to occupy the home. It may also affect claims to visitation, or timesharing, with your children. You will likely spend less time with them if you leave your home. By maintaining their normal everyday life with both parents in the home, you will have an easier time proving to the court that it is in the children's best interest that they spend substantial time with each parent.
While there are many good reasons to remain in the marital home, the safety and sanity of the children and parties should always be first priority. If you are unable to remain in the home safely, there are resources and processes available to assist with the relocation process. If you're facing divorce and have questions about your rights to your home,
contact The Bulger Firm
to discuss your options with an experienced attorney.