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Keeping the Home and Kids Together on No Income

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How does a mother in a divorce keep the home and the kids together when she has no job?

By Attorney Nichole A. Collins, Family Law Division Leader, Harrisburg, PA

There may be no more difficult time in one's life than when they are going through a divorce.  There's anxiety, guilt, regret and panic.  But, what if I am a mother too?  I've got no income, no job, and now...no house to live in for myself and the kids!  There is an answer.

Sole and Exclusive Possession

The courts of Pa, through the divorce code, may allow one spouse to continue living in the marital residence with the children.  They will also direct the spouse with an income to pay for it!  This is called "Sole and Exclusive Possession" of the marital residence.

Sole and exclusive possession of the marital residence may be awarded to one of the parties during the pendency of the divorce proceedings.  If the parties are living in the house together currently, the Courts may order one of the parties (moving party) out.  Courts are more likely to award exclusive possession where the moving party has already moved out and established a separate residence elsewhere (in situations where the moving party keeps coming back to the house uninvited).  This is particularly true where other factors exist, such as the presence in the home of minor children and the ability of the moving spouse to obtain separate housing. 

The moving spouse's behavior in connection with the separation may also be a consideration in determining whether exclusive possession should be granted. The presence of minor children in the home and the need for stability consistent with their best interests militates in favor of an award of exclusive possession to the non-moving party.  The moving spouse's economic interests can be adjusted at equitable distribution, for example, by a credit in the nature of rental payments.

At the same time, the non-moving spouse may also file for alimony, alimony pendente lite or spousal support and child support to assist with the expenses of daily life.

If you are in a situation where you want to separate and file for divorce, but are afraid because you won't have a place to live, contact us toll free at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC or email us.  We can provide you with some solutions and peace of mind.

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