Unusual Living Arrangement Questions

We are a young couple considering separation after a little over 6 years of marriage. My biggest concern is with our living arrangements.

His parents are the owners of our home and we “rent” from them although there is no formal or legal contract. We pay them monthly, but there isn’t anything legally binding in place to allocate the rent amount or even the fact that we are the renters.

So if we proceed forward with a separation, I am curious what MY options are in regards to our home? I do not have any other place to go nor can I afford to rent a separate residence on my own. Since his parents own our home and there is no formal contract in place, do I have any rights at all to our current residence? If we decide to proceed, is it possible that I could end up homeless? Is there any way that I could potentially pursue some aspect of the law that would enable me to remain there for a certain period of time, at least through the 12 month separation period?

Basically, I just want to know if I have any options available to me as far as somehow keeping rights to our home. Or if there is anything in place that may potentially keep me from ending up homeless or sleeping on other peoples couches for an extended period of time. At this point, I have stayed in the marriage simply because of this issue particularly, but I am at a point where I need to consider other options. I need to know what the possible outcomes are and if I do have any rights in regards to our home despite the fact that we do not own it or even have a written agreement as renters.

I’d appreciate any help or advice that anyone may have about this.

Since neither you nor your husband own the home, neither of you have any rights to it when it comes to a separation.

However, it is possible to negotiate a separation agreement while you are still living together that would address the division of the marital property and alimony. You could negotiate as part of the settlement that you remain in the house for a certain time period and that your husband is the one that moves out.

You may also be entitled to postseparation support/alimony from your husband.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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