PLM Family Law

  1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. Divorce
  4.  → The impact of moving out on rights to the family home

The impact of moving out on rights to the family home

According to KFYR, the divorce rate in North Dakota jumped by 21 % in 2021. When contemplating a divorce and considering the prospect of moving out, it is a common misunderstanding that leaving the family home will result in forfeiting your rights to that property.

North Dakota uses equitable distribution principles in dividing property. This means the decision to move out does not eliminate a party’s ability to seek an interest in that property afterward.

Equitable division explained

The fair and equitable distribution of property relies on legal ownership and rights to assets a couple owns. The court will consider a broader spectrum of elements, such as each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, financial circumstances, and the length of the marriage.

Division options

Generally, a court has multiple options when it comes to dealing with a marital home.  The court may award it to one of the individuals if that person assumes the majority care of any children, which may help to promote security and stability for the children. However, the other person may receive a buyout or get other assets to make up for the value he or she is losing in the home.

In some cases, the court may decide the couple must sell the home and split the profits. It is also possible for the couple to continue joint ownership of the property, though this may not be advisable post-divorce for several reasons.

The understanding that equitable distribution is the guiding principle in North Dakota allows divorcing couples to approach living arrangements with a more comprehensive perspective. Couples can make decisions based on their individual needs and considerations, without the immediate fear that moving out will significantly impact their rights to the family home.  Keep in mind, however, that moving out could have significant implications for child custody issues, which should be discussed with your attorney.