Reality TV personality Bethenny Frankel and her “separation” from her husband wasn’t so separate. The two continued to share the same four-bedroom New York City apartment five months into their bitter divorce. Frankel’s awkward situation shows that all kinds of couples going through a divorce can have trouble dealing with the former marital home.
The first thing to consider when deciding to stay in the home is your personal safety. Do you have good reason to feel threatened with violence from your former spouse? If so, a judge may grant you an order granting you exclusive possession of the residence and order your spouse to stay away. If your spouse needs to get any of his or her things, law enforcement can be present to protect you.
The laws of each jurisdiction’s approach to determining exclusive possession of the marital home are different. Florida law requires equitable distribution of marital assets. If neither of the divorcing parties wants to keep the home, it can be sold and the proceeds divided up. Where the trouble happens is when both sides want to keep the home.
Often, parties try to stay in the marital home to provide stability for minor children. Before a time-sharing determination is made, both parties are also vying for the maximum time with their children. Therefore, they desire to stick around and be as much a part of the children’s lives as they were before the divorce. Florida considers the desirability of maintaining the home as a residence for dependent children in dividing marital assets.
An important thing to consider in making your decision is that even if you move out of the marital home, you still have rights concerning it. The best way to protect those rights is to work with an attorney who is board-certified in marital and family law with the Florida Bar.