Separated - property

He should be able to move back into the home providing there is no separation agreement stating that the home belongs to her. Since he is still paying the mortgage and utilities then I would find it’s safe to say they have no agreement.
He can file for equitable distribution to get 1/2 the furnishings back but the other marital assets will also need to be divided then also. Since there are older children involved, I suggest that they do not allow her to remove all of the items from the home.
Normally, there is no age at which a child can choose who they live with but given the ages the 19 year old is legally an adult and can choose regardless. The 16 year old would probably not be forced by a judge to live with a parent that he did not want to live with.

He really should consult an attorney and get a separation agreement drawn up…

First off how can she “force” a 16 and 19 year old to do anything? That power has eluded me. How did she “force” him to move out?

Being that she is your sister do you have any influence over her? Having an affair is one of the most hurtful and despicable things your spouse can do to you. Believe me, I know. She is the one wanting out of the marriage she needs to complete the job and walk away. Sorry for the rant.

He should move back into the house. Right now. Don’t wait until she is out. He should not pay anything that would support her in any way.
He needs to open an new bank account and transfer all funds from the joint account into his. He can deal with dividing those funds later. He needs to file a ED lawsuit against her for half of all marital assets. He needs to make her pay half of all debts.

If the 16 year old is willing to move in with him then he needs to file for child support. No sense fighting over custody though. As stepmother said, at 16 the judge and courts would take their wishes into consideration.

If she will not cooperate then he needs to consider filing an AofA lawsuit against her “boy friend”. By cooperating I mean signing a separation agreement. He needs to see an attorney immediately. Get a separation agreement drawn up to his benefit.

Sorry for the harshness.

He can file an action for equitable distribution and ask the court to equally divide their marital property. That division will include the personal property.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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My sister & brother-in-law are physically separated, not yet legally separated yet. She has been having an affair for about a year, and forced him to move out months ago, but he still pays the mortgage and most of the utilities. She suddenly decided to move herself out into a townhouse, but has taken all the contents of the house, and is forcing their 16 and 19 year old sons to move with her. He will be able to move back into the (empty) house once she is out, but what recourse does he have to get some of the furnishings back? Also, don’t the children have the legal right to decide which parent they live with?