How to not lose your house in a divorce

(See also Negative Equity and Divorce)

The court has the ability to grant “exclusive possession” of the marital residence to one of the parties while the divorce proceedings are still in progress. This means that the evicted party cannot enter the house without the permission of the occupant and can literally be arrested for trespassing. That also means you cannot enter and take any of your possessions from the house.

According to this article  in the Las Vegas Review Journal, fewer than 20% of motions for exclusive possession are denied. Meaning you have an 80%+ chance of being evicted from your own home should a motion for exclusive possession be filed against you. 

One of the judges in the article cites three grounds for allowing divorcing couples to stay in the marital home: 1) lack of financial resources to establish two separate households 2) the best interests of the children and 3) no history of domestic violence. 

So the judge has given clear guidance on how to stay in your home:

1) demonstrate a lack of resources to establish a second household (which is why lawyers tell you NOT to move out of the home – I guess this would even extend to staying temporarily at a family or friend’s home),  

2) demonstrate it is in the best interest of your kids to stay home (can be tough to prove – expect her to argue that the tension you both living under the same roof is psychologically damaging the children)

3) avoid a domestic violence charge (another tough one – there are numerous cases of false domestic violence charges AND judges erring on the side of caution even without physical evidence of any abuse – see this link for a wake up call).

(Of course, when the divorce is finalized you will need to give half of your equity in the house to your ex-spouse – this might entail selling the house or, if you are very lucky, you might be able to re-finance the house and buy out her equity – if you ever agree on what the equity is worth).

In my case, I had moved out of the house to escape constant verbal abuse and had rented a single room in a friend’s house. Not only did the judge award exclusive possession to my soon to be ex-wife but also ordered me to continue paying all mortgage and utility payments as well as child support. The judge also refused to order my ex to get a job – despite the fact that the children were teenagers and she had a teaching license. My ex ended up living in the house for almost 3 years rent free without any bills while collecting child support and taking up to 90% of my net income every month. Welcome to the “justice” system. (BTW, she also made it difficult for realtors to show the house to potential buyers – even when the court ordered that the house be placed on the market).


10 Responses to How to not lose your house in a divorce

  1. […] Negative Equity and Divorce (See also “How to not lose your house in a divorce“) […]

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  3. Anita says:

    On may of last year exhusband left da house. Never paid mortgage again. He’s on da promise to pay and I’m on da deed. I tried negotiating different options so me and my children can stay in this house. He refused doin anything 2 save this home, not even wanting 2 do a loan modification. He threatens 2 put this house under bankrupcty. I have no where 2 go wit my children. Now I got served wit foreclosure papers in front of my kids. Can someone tell me Wat I can do? He voluntarily left da family. He left written letter and all of abandonment. Please help.

  4. beingthere says:

    since you are on the deed you are either going to need to pay the mortgage or foreclose, and i know thats not what you want to hear.

    i dont know where you are in the foreclosure process but mabe you can still save your house and keep the roof over your kids head(im a single parent so i know the pressure)
    try this government program–
    it is a forclosure prevention program that my realtor introduced to me and im in the process too.they pay your mortgage for up to $25000 based on them asap because it take a while to get on it(so many people needs help too) so dont delay.
    be swift about getting them all ( a lot!!!) of the paperwork they want and it takes 30-45days from submission to start getting your mortgage paid.all the best and enjoy your kids,i know its tough doing id all alone but you can do it sis,oh yes you can.!!!!!!!

    • Anita says:

      Thank You so much for taking the time to respond. I will be goin into the website you gave me. I will try everything to save this home for my children.

  5. I agree! I still am really goes on sometimes these days. This news was well received as I was sat down. The Owners have wondered what will happen now?! I need to know the problem and going forth.

  6. Lesley says:

    Many thanks Getty! We won’t wait to get started out!

    • ana says:

      Thank u 4 replyin 2 my message but i already lost my house da judge didn’t grant it 2 noone me and my daughters stayed witout a place 2 stay. Thanks 2 a good semaritan lended us an efficiency. I contacted senator marco rubio and paid a lawyer, paid a quit claim deed on da property and fannie mae still sold it on auction.

  7. Robert says:

    Fckn judicial system blows when it comes to divorce! She cheats she drugs she gets half my income for being a leach. Way to go America

  8. children says:

    If you would like to get much from this piece of writing
    then you have to apply these strategies to your won blog.

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