Do I Need to Stay in the Home During My Florida Divorce?

If you have begun your Florida divorce or are even just thinking about divorce, you may have heard that it is a bad idea to leave the home.  Often clients appear in the offices of expert Florida divorce lawyers and tell them that their friends have advised them not to leave their homes.  The friends have told them that they give up their rights to the home if they leave before the divorce is final.

That is absolutely not true.  When it comes to rights to the home, it doesn't matter who is staying there at the time of the divorce.  The value of the house is just a number on the property division chart.  It is no different than the value of a bank account.  The value doesn't change just because you have moved out and it doesn't go into your spouse's column in property division just because your spouse is living there and you are not.

There is one big caution, though.  If you have children in the home, the rules are entirely different.  You will have a difficult time telling the judge at trial that the children should be in your care most of the time after you have spent six months away from them while they stayed in the home with your spouse.  So keep in mind that the freedom to leave the home applies only to the property rights aspect of your divorce and not to the child custody part.

Bottom line: Unless there are child custody issues involved, you are not penalized by leaving the marital home in your Florida divorce.