Confusing Situation


My husband has agreed to my request for separation. However, the situation is complicated and I don’t know where to begin.

We are currently living in a single family home with a mortgage. At this time we are just barely making enough to pay all the bills. We had agreed to continue living in the home together until it is ready to sell since the separation is amicable. However, it is understandably becoming more uncomfortable the longer we continue to live here together. Because of our financial situation, my husband can’t afford to move out, but I am able to move out and reside with my parents until such time as I am able to acquire my own residence. We have agreed to make minor repairs and get the home ready for sale so we can list it, sell it, and split the proceeds. If I move out and go to my parents’ home, I plan to continue to contribute to all the expenses of maintaining the home until it sells and I believe that will prevent me from being accused of abandonment.

The main issue we have regarding the residence is that I need to be able to enter the residence to continue preparing it for listing. I presume that as long as I am not living in the home and not spending the night in the home, we are still separated and the time counts toward the one year separation period. Do we just need to add a provision to the agreement stating that I have access to the home during the day on weekdays and weekends to continue preparing it for sale?

We are trying to handle the agreement ourselves so that we don’t need to hire attorneys, but I wonder if it would be best for us to have someone to at least help us make sure we cover everything that needs to be covered.

Thank you for your help.


When you leave the marital residence with the intention of living elsewhere, your spouse is free to change the locks and refuse your access to the house and any property you leave behind. He can even call the police and file a trespassing charge against you if you return and try to enter without his permission. So, you do lose some rights when you move out. I would, therefore, definitely recommend you put a provision in your agreement about being able to return to the marital residence at certain times for certain reasons, such as retrieving property. You should have that in writing prior to your leaving if you are concerned. I would always recommend having an attorney draft the agreement, but you do not have to do so.