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Will I lose my house in my divorce if I move out first?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2023 | Divorce

Did you know that neither you nor your spouse is required to move out of your shared home after you file for divorce? In Minnesota, there is no legal requirement that you and your spouse live apart for a period before divorcing. So, you do not have to move out of the house if your spouse files for divorce.

Still, living with your soon-to-be ex-spouse is simply not emotionally healthy or realistic for many couples. If you do decide to move out of your shared home while your divorce is pending you may worry that this will indicate that you do not want to keep the home when the exact opposite is true. But know that you will not automatically lose your home in a divorce just because you moved out after the divorce was filed.

Property division in Minnesota

When courts divide marital property in a divorce in Minnesota, they will do so based on what they think is fair. Sometimes this means that it is fair for you to keep the home, even if you moved out while your divorce was pending. This might be especially pertinent if you are awarded child custody and plan on raising your children in that home.

Otherwise, what might be fair is for you to keep the home and your spouse will receive other marital property of an equal value. What is fair might also be for you to buy out your spouse’s share in the home so you can stay in it once the divorce is finalized. In either of these situations, the fact that you moved out first does not automatically negate your right to pursue ownership of the marital home after your divorce.

Temporary orders

If you want to move out, but are concerned that you might lose your right to the home you share with your spouse, you can always seek a temporary order preserving your interest in the home. This means that you can ask the court to prevent your spouse from selling the home without your permission.

You can also ask the court to decide who can live in your shared home until your divorce is finalized. Finally, you can ask the court to issue a statement that the temporary order will not automatically transfer to a permanent order upon finalization of the divorce.

You and your spouse can also execute a written separation agreement. This is not necessary for either of you to move out or to get a divorce, but it can help clarify each of your rights while your divorce is pending. In the separation agreement, you can outline who will have access to your shared home and when.

Ultimately, if you want to keep the family home after your divorce, your right to do so is not diminished based solely on the fact that you moved out while your divorce was pending. Still, you have options that might help make your intentions known, even if you move out for a while.