A divorce or separation rarely starts off in a clean, orderly fashion. Once the relationship begins to deteriorate there is often a messy period where the parties rights and options are sorted out. Who stays and who goes, and on what timeline? Who pays for what expenses? Who keeps what? These are the basic questions that have to be answered.
The law in this area is straightforward. The parties are supposed to maintain the financial status quo as their case progresses and they attempt to settle their issues.
One of the biggest questions to be resolved is how are the housing expenses shared during the break up. Generally speaking, if you were contributing 25% of the mortgage or rent expense on a monthly basis before the separation or divorce began, you will be responsible to continue to contribute 25% during the separation or divorce process. Unless the parties agree, one party cannot move out and say to the other party, “I’ve got my own rent and utilities now, so you’re on your own to figure out how you pay your housing expenses.” Even though you are in the middle of a break up, housing expenses have to be paid as they were before the break up. Practically speaking this is a tough position to be in for the person moving out of the home.
For example, let’s say husband moves out of the house during the divorce and does not return. When he goes out and tries to rent an apartment he has to come up with the security deposit, first month’s rent, and broker fee. Then he has moving expenses. Assuming that he settles into an apartment he has rent, utilities, and all of his other individual bills to pay. However, according to the law he still has to contribute his portion to the housing expenses at the home where wife is residing. Unless his cash flow situation is very favorable he will be stretched to the financial breaking point as he is paying a housing expense at two separate residences. Unfortunately for him the courts generally hold him responsible to contribute to his marital expenses ahead of his own personal living expenses. Continue reading →