My husband and I have decided this isn’t working. Someone told me to try to wait until our house sells. We have a house that we live in and a house at the beach. With the market as bad as it is, it could take a year or more. How do they determine equitable distribution with these houses? And can I leave before the house sells? The emotional abuse is getting overwhelming. I wanted to make sure I can make it on my own before I set the ball in motion. Thanks in advance for your help.[/b]
You do not have to wait until the house sells prior to leaving. In most cases I do recommend that you have a separation agreement or court order in place with respect to property issues and custody issues prior to leaving the home.
Every case is different, and it is not necessary that you have property issues settled prior to leaving, however ironing out the financial issues prior to splitting the household is often the best course of action. Equitable Distribution is also handled differently in each case. The martial property is normally divided with 50% going to each spouse. There are numerous ways to accomplish this, and it is not necessary to sell all of the assets to accomplish an equitable distribution. For example, if the amount of equity in each home is similar, it would be equitable for each of you to retain one of the homes. Each of you would refinance the mortgage into your sole name without the necessity of buying the other out.
In any event you do not have to wait until the house sells before you leave. A separation agreement can be put in place that specifies what will be done with the house as far as when it does sell, and who must pay the expenses in the mean time.
If you have children together, I would absolutely recommend that you have an agreement on custody and child support in place prior to leaving.
Once you leave the home with the intent of residing elsewhere your spouse will have the right to change the locks and exclude you from the home. It is important that you take all of the items you will need for the next several months while all issues are disposed of.