Does your spouse give up their right to the home if they move out?

When your spouse stated that they wanted a divorce, you told them that you wanted them out of the house. They left, and now you have a question: Are they able to claim a house when they abandoned it to you?

They moved out willingly, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a claim to this piece of marital property. If they moved out at your request, remember that they still have a right to live in that home if you’re both on the mortgage.

Sometimes, people do give up the marital home because there are other assets they want or need, but don’t assume that they will lose the right to seek a portion of that asset just because they left. Instead, now is a good time to talk to your attorney about the home and what you can do to try to keep it for yourself.

How can you fight to keep your marital home?

To keep your marital home, the first thing you need to do is to find out how much it’s worth. Both you and your spouse may opt to have the home appraised separately. Then, you will need to decide which of these values you’d like to assign to the property.

You should subtract the mortgage from what the home is worth. For example, if you own a home that is valued at $1,000,000 but owe $600,000, then the value may be only $400,000 if it sells on the market. Then, you will need to divide that $400,000 by each person’s share of the asset. Assuming each person is entitled to 50% of the property, you would need to come up with around $200,000 to buy out your spouse’s share.

Of course, there are other factors that may influence the amount you need to cover to buy your spouse out from the home as well as other debts and responsibilities that might impact if you can afford to do so.

If you want to keep your marital home, take this first step to determine its value and if it’s reasonable to try to buy out your spouse. If not, there may be other methods you can use to try to stay in the home.