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Leaving the family home before divorce

Posted by Evoke6L6 
Leaving the family home before divorce
January 29, 2021 12:01AM
Can anyone shed any light on the potential repercussions of moving out of the matrimonial home before divorce commences? I am currently living with a work colleague for a few reasons including my wife will not stay in the house with the children with me there meaning they’re sharing a bed in the mother in law’s house so I left so they could be back in their own space. I’ve also left the home so the kids don’t have to witness us as each other’s throats, my own mental health and the emotional abuse I was getting which put me in therapy around a year ago for depression and anxiety.

I’m now in a situation though I can no longer stay with my work colleague and either need to return to the matrimonial home or go into a rented property. I’d rather suck up the cost and go into rented so I can be free of the stress and have the kids over. Am I however causing myself issues further on down the line? I’ve heard so many conflicting opinions. Many have told me not to leave the matrimonial home whereas others have been more middle of the road in that it doesn’t necessarily affect the case to the court won’t even consider it. If I were to rent a three bed property to suit the kids and as well as paying half the mortgage on my house, I’d have little disposable income but it would prevent me sliding back into depression.

Is anyone able to straighten out the facts for me please? I’ve spoken to two solicitors. One told me to sofa surf with friends as it wouldn’t be seen as sustainable and another has told me renting a property doesn’t necessarily affect my case but couldn’t offer me much advice and seemed unsure.
Re: Leaving the family home before divorce
January 29, 2021 04:49PM
Well, in general it is normally a bad idea to move out of the matrimonial home until the financial issues arising from the marriage are formally and finally settled. There are two reasons for this:-

First, although remaining in the property may be unpleasant it is also unpleasant for the other spouse. This does act as a powerful incentive to settle financial issues sooner rather than later. If one spouse leaves then the pressure is taken off and the chances are that settling financial issues will take longer (and possibly cost more) because the spouse left in possession of the matrimonial home usually has every incentive to prolong the status quo for as long as possible. Also, of course, you have a better chance of agreeing terms of settlement if you actually see one another and can talk to one another. If you both live in separate properties it increases the chances that everything needs to be done through solicitors.

Second, by finding somewhere else to live the spouse remaining in the property is likely to say, 'You have got somewhere else to live. I haven't. I need the matrimonial home.'

However, as you have correctly figured out for yourself there is more to this than money. There is also the welfare of the children to think about and your own mental health. These factors may outweigh the purely financial considerations and it rather sounds that they weigh quite heavily with you. There is nothing wrong with that. Happiness is about more than money. Only you can decide what your priorities are.

For what it is worth, assuming there is significant and substantial equity in the former matrimonial home you will be entitled to some share of it no matter what. Whether you act in such a way as to try to maximise your share or whether you seek a balance between your share and other factors is a choice only you can make.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/05/2021 05:23PM by David Terry.
Re: Leaving the family home before divorce
February 04, 2021 08:50PM
This is very similar to my sorry tale, I moved into a rental property because my mental health was an all time low, my wife had all the locks changed and has refused my access ever since, all illegally of course. My question is: why should one party be penalised while the other remains in the family home denying the other party of their property / investment?

I would ask your solicitor about charging your estranged spouse 'Occupational Rent' for your share of the house, before a financial consent order is agreed. As David states, my ex has been obstructive throughout the whole process of selling the house, while I have continued to pay rent every month. I didn't know about Occupational Rent until it was too late!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2021 08:51PM by philhud.
Re: Leaving the family home before divorce
February 04, 2021 09:26PM
Thanks for the heads up. I did not know of this either. I’ve spoken to two different solicitors. Different feedback from both. One was very sure fire about everything going how I wanted it to go, which seemed too good to be true, until I emailed afterwards and got a very different attitude. Second solicitor was a lot more realistic but couldn’t offer me a great deal of advice on the situation. In the mean time, I’ve spoken to a mediator so will see what comes of that.

David, I think your advice is good and probably the most common sense approach I’ve had to the matter. I’ve thought about it and agree there is an incentive for my wife to deal with matters if I’m just there when she doesn’t want me there. I’m still paying the mortgage and whilst I’m out of the house, I’m paying child maintenance. Throw in rent on top and I make life difficult regardless for the time being, wether that is financially or mentally. I’ve decided to move back in towards the end of the month as the availability of properties to rent in the area are slim pickings at the moment. I will push it for a period of time to get the ball rolling and if it’s all getting a bit much, I’ll consider renting at that point.
Re: Leaving the family home before divorce
February 05, 2021 10:24AM
Everyone I tell of my situation asks me....wouldn't it be easier just to move out.

I want to spit every time someone says that to me.

For the reasons David states, it makes sense to remain in the house.

But also, how can one person who is the sole income in the household be expected to (just move out) and thus pay for the family home and a rental property too. This whole process is so unfair.

My wife has been told by her solicitor NOT to get a job until the financial settlement is complete, as it may lessen her settlement. That is madness!

I feel for you fella! Staying in the family home isn't easy either...especially when the wife turns violent, and the police are believing the wrong story all the time.
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