Ok, so you have made the difficult decision to divorce, or perhaps the decision was made for you. Whatever the circumstances that have lead you to this point, one or either of you might be contemplating leaving the home because it can be very awkward to continue living with the person you are divorcing. This can get complicated, however, by your financial situation and your parenting situation, if you have children together.
You may not want to move because you are afraid you will be accused of abandonment. You do not automatically lose your rights to either your home or your children in New Jersey simply because you move out during your divorce. However, working out a parenting agreement prior to a relocation may be in your best interests, so you are not arguing about it later and fighting for a schedule before a Judge.
Much more likely, especially in the current economic climate, is the inability to afford another shelter expense. Because of this, many couples have been forced to continue to live together until their divorce is completed. I have even encountered circumstances where parties have lived together for a period after their divorce was final because they needed their jointly owned home to sell before either could afford to move on. While it may happen, this is a rare circumstance. Neither party has the right to remove the other party from the house unless there is some compelling circumstance to do so, such a domestic violence situation or an unhealthy environment created for the children by one party’s actions. The burden to prove the necessity to remove someone from their home can be onerous, but experienced counsel can discuss the options with you should you feel it has become necessary.
If you need to make sure that your spouse continues to contribute toward the shelter expenses (mortgage or rent, etc.), that can also be addressed by your attorney. Every situation is different and requires its own individual response to address those particular needs. I invite you to sit down with experienced counsel to discuss your situation and what your options might be with respect to your living arrangement. Posted by Elizabeth A. Calandrillo, Esq.