Offering Comprehensive,Skilled Representation

Will you lose the house if you move out when you file for divorce?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2022 | Divorce |

Fear is often what keeps someone in an unhappy marriage. People with children worry about what the divorce would mean for the relationship with their children, while those who run a family business will worry about their main source of income.

For many couples in Oklahoma contemplating divorce, it is their marital home that is the biggest concern. The longer you have owned the home, the more equity you and your spouse may have accrued at the property through improvements and mortgage payments. You want to protect your interest in the home, but you also know you can’t continue living with your spouse.

Do you lose your right to the property if you move out before your divorce?

Leaving the home can complicate possession claims

If you want to stay in the home and live there permanently, then leaving during the divorce might not be the best decision. The judge presiding over a contentious divorce where one spouse has already left the home may allow the spouse who stays to continue living in the home. There is no certainty about how a judge will rule, but leaving may increase your chances of losing possession of the house.

However, it’s important that you understand that losing possession of the home does not mean your spouse just gets to keep it. Even if your spouse lives in the home and will stay there after the divorce, you still have a right to your fair share of equity in the property. Under Oklahoma’s equitable division property laws, a portion of the home’s value belongs to you even if you don’t stay at the house or your ex lives there after the divorce but you do not.

You can receive your share of equity when your spouse refinances to remove you from the mortgage or in the form of other property, like a retirement account or small business. 

Setting achievable goals will make divorce less stressful

You can make a divorce a more difficult and painful process for you, your ex and everyone else involved by making unrealistic demands or letting your emotions determine your behavior. If you take the time to really understand the situation and set achievable goals, everyone involved will benefit.

Learning about state law regarding property division, custody and other divorce issues will help you align expectations with an outcome that is possible. It can also help you keep your focus on your long-term happiness rather than short-term vindication as you negotiate different matters in your divorce.