Q: My husband and I have been married for over 15 years. Two years ago, we separated and later decided to give ourselves a second chance. Unfortunately, it has not gone so well.
I am seriously thinking of going through with a divorce. I feel physically ill continuing as if nothing is wrong with my marriage. I can no longer live in this home and I’m willing to leave the house to my husband for my happiness. If I decided to leave, will my leaving considered abandonment of the home or should I continue to affect my health and stay in the home until the divorce is finalized.
A: You answered your own question in your letter. You are willing to “give” your husband the home to protect your health. As you consider your options, you should be in touch with your divorce attorney to make sure you are doing the right thing when it comes to your personal life and your financial wellbeing.
We have frequently seen our readers (not to mention friends and acquaintances), stay in their homes making their bad situation get even worse. You should talk to your divorce attorney and determine what financial benefits you’ll receive in the divorce agreement by staying in the home and what personal benefits you might get from moving out.
If the issue in the divorce is determining who will get to keep the home and the division of the marital assets, you need to consider a couple of items. One of these issues is whether you need or want to keep the home for yourself and the value and equity you and your husband have in the home.
If you have little or no equity in the home, then you might not get any financial benefit in staying in the home and you and your husband might agree to sell the home in the course of the divorce. Now, if the home has a significant amount of equity but you don’t want to end up living in the home, you might need, under certain circumstances, to stay in the home to preserve your rights to the equity in the home.
Finally, if your goal is to stay in the home and believe that your husband’s goal is to keep the home as well, you and he will be at a standoff. The court during the proceedings might give preference to the spouse that is still living in the home.
Given that your health is suffering by living in the home and you are no longer willing to live in there, you should discuss your feelings with your divorce attorney and then make an informed decision and take it from there.