What Are My Rights If I Leave The Marital Home?

February 19, 2022

What Are My Rights If I Leave The Marital Home?

Going through a divorce is rarely easy. While amicable divorces do happen, most divorces involve a variety of concerns that need to be addressed, including what will happen with the marital home. Most couples going through a divorce will not want to continue living together while waiting for the process to finish. However, many individuals who are going through a divorce may wonder, “what are my rights if I leave the marital home?”

Moving out of the family home can impact a divorce in several different ways, and in varying degrees depending on the family. At Johnson Law Group, we help guide our clients through each step of the divorce process. You can learn more about the implications of moving out during a divorce by contacting Johnson Law Group’s experienced divorce lawyers at (720) 463-4333.

Can You Lose Your Rights To the Marital Home if You Move Out?

Moving out of the marital home may or may not affect a spouse’s legal claim to the property in future divorce proceedings in Colorado. However, divorce laws vary from state to state. According to the Colorado Domestic Matters Laws, family courts must divide all marital property in an equitable manner, not necessarily an equal one. For example, the spouse who earns more money may be entitled to a larger portion of the estate based on their income.

Family courts will attempt to determine which assets are “marital” and which are separate property. Anything that was purchased by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property. The family home is almost always considered marital property, especially if it was purchased after the marriage. The court will attempt to reach a ruling on the division of all marital assets, along with childcare responsibilities and financial resources. Family courts are usually not concerned with the possession or title of assets, and in many cases, the court will order the home to be sold and for the sale money to be divided for handling marital debts.

It is important to note that even if the marital home is divided equally for financial purposes, moving out of the marital home may impact the decision of the judge regarding whether or not to let you have the property. Visiting with an experienced family law attorney can help you ensure your legal rights are protected in your specific circumstance.

The Family Home in Divorces Involving Children

Parents who are going through a divorce may wonder, “what are my rights if I leave the marital home and I have children?” While some states have “abandonment” laws that can be used against a spouse who moves out of the marital home, these laws only apply in at-fault divorce states. However, even though Colorado is a no-fault state, parents going through a divorce must still be careful to ensure that their leaving the family home is not later characterized as abandonment in child custody proceedings.

Avoiding Allegations of Child Abandonment

One parent leaving the family home can be emotionally damaging to minor children if there is no parenting plan in place. Before leaving the family home, it is usually wise for parents to work together to create a new parenting plan that they will follow while separated and going through the divorce process. This may not always be easy, as parents may disagree on certain aspects of the plan.

Parents who leave the marital home can also avoid being accused of child abandonment by continuing to provide financial support to their minor children, pay for any household bills that remain under their name, and remaining actively involved in their children’s lives through scheduled parenting time. Additionally, it may be wise to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer at Johnson Law Group, who can help draft a written parenting agreement with the other spouse.

Leaving the Marital Home Due to Domestic Violence

In divorce cases involving domestic violence, the spouse may leave the family home and bring their children with them in order to protect the family from the threat of such violence. It is always important to protect the safety of yourself and your children before thinking of how it will impact your right to a marital home at a later time.

What Factors Will a Family Court Consider When Awarding the Marital Home?

While Colorado family courts will often order the marital home to be sold so that each spouse can receive their equitable share of the property value, there are some cases in which the marital home may be awarded to one spouse. Some factors that judges in divorce cases will consider when deciding the fate of a marital home include:

  • How each spouse contributed to the marital home, both financially and through other circumstances, such as homemaker duties.
  • The current economic standing of each spouse.
  • How the value of the separate property of each spouse has changed, and whether any of these properties now have a lower value because of marital reasons.
  • The total value of the property distributed to each spouse.

Additionally, the court will prioritize the needs of the children when determining whether one parent retains the marital home. For example, if the parent remaining in the home has majority custody and forcing a sale would disrupt the school routine of the children, the court may opt to award the home to the remaining parent.

Learn More About Leaving the Marital Home From a Colorado Divorce Attorney

Are you wondering, “what are my rights if I leave the marital home?” or struggling with another divorce-related concern? Going through a divorce can be an extremely stressful and difficult process to navigate on your own. For many divorcees, legal guidance can help make this process easier and less stressful. An experienced divorce lawyer understands how state laws and the specific circumstances of the marriage will affect the case, and how to use this knowledge to come up with a strong plan tailored to their client’s needs.

If you are looking for legal guidance regarding your divorce, the team of seasoned Colorado divorce lawyers at the Johnson Law Group is ready to stand by your side. Contact us today at (720) 463-4333 to learn more about the marital home, child custody, dividing assets, and any other divorce-related concerns you may have.

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