Family Law for Real Housewives: The Ins and Outs of Moving Out

This is one instance where size doesn’t matter.  Any apartment or house typically seems too small when a couple cohabits during a divorce.

People develop strong attachments to their homes.  The attachment can be even stronger in the face of a majorlife event like a divorce, which often tends to cause people to hold onto whatthey have even harder.  Case in point, let’s take a look at the RHONY and how Sonya clings to her Upper East Side townhouse despite the questionable plumbing. 

So what happens if a couple is goingthrough a contentious divorce?  Who gets to stay in the house? In some cases, a party may voluntary move out.  Otherwise, in order to obtain exclusive occupancy during a divorce proceeding, you need to show either: (i)your spouse established an alternate residence and his/her return would causedomestic strife; or (ii) your spouse poses a physical harm or threatens to damage property. 

This can be a difficult or impossible standard to satisfy.  As a result, we watched a season of Bethenny living in a hotel while she was undergoing her divorce. 

If a divorcing couple has children, the issue of moving out can become even more complicated.  Best practice is tohave a parental access schedule before moving out.  However, reaching an agreement on an access schedule can be tricky at an early stage of thecase.  Meanwhile, the tension at home may be intense and arguments mayensue, which can have a negative impact on the children.

Who gets the house post-divorce?  Aparty may continue to reside in the home and buyout the other party’s interest in the property. Alternatively, as with Kelly’s beachfront condo in the OC, thehome can be listed for sale and the sale proceeds divided. In other cases,either or both parties may continue to reside in the home for a specified period of time, such as when the children are still in high school, and thenthe home will be sold at a later date. It may sound cheesy, but adages exist for a reason.  Don’t forget that home is where the heart is.