Going through a divorce is scary enough without the added fear of being thrown out of the marital home, especially if your name isn’t on the title. If you’re a stay-at-home mom and you’re concerned about what happens next, it’s important to understand that every situation is different. Ultimately, the courts are the ones who decide on the distribution of marital assets if the spouses cannot reach an agreement This is why it’s even more crucial to retain a skilled South Carolina divorce attorney who can help you navigate the tricky waters of asset distribution in the state.
Because South Carolina is not a community property state, the marital property is subject to equitable distribution. That means that all assets acquired prior to or even during the course of the marriage are not necessarily split equally down the middle during a divorce. There are instances, however, where a house titled in only one spouse’s name is declared a marital asset.
The courts will assess each individual situation independently. This includes the reasons behind the divorce, the financial situation of each spouse, and the expected earnings potential of each.
Factors that Can Influence the Asset Division of the House
First off, the circumstances around the reason for divorce can factor in to who ultimately receives possession of the house. Did your husband cheat on you and the reason for divorce is adultery? In South Carolina, a judge is not likely to punish a spouse who did nothing wrong. But, if they are the ones at-fault, the judge will be less hesitant about putting them out of the marital home, especially if you will remain in the home with children who are under 18. In situations like this, a judge may award you possession of the home for a specified period of time, or for the rest of your life. If there is a specified amount of time, it may be until the children reach 18 or until you remarry, whichever event occurs first.
If the house was purchased or inherited by your spouse, but you both lived in the house as your primary residence for the duration of the marriage, there is a chance the judge will declare it a marital asset. Typically, you have to show proof of intent that your spouse planned to treat it as a marital asset. It’s not necessarily enough just to live in the home.
If there are allegations of child endangerment or domestic violence, the court may issue an order forcing the other party to vacate the premises. If your spouse voluntarily chooses to leave the home, you can file a Complaint for Separate Maintenance and Support. This will allow you to remain in the house, while receiving support payments, until the divorce is finalized.
Hiring a Greenville Divorce Attorney
If you’re a stay-at-home parent facing a divorce situation where the family home is not in your name, it’s important you contact a Greenville family law attorney right away to help protect your rights during this emotional time. Contact our team at Elliott Frazier Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.