Can We Still Have the Holidays at Home During a Divorce?

By Jones & Associates Law P.C.

As we are deep in the holiday season, for those thinking about divorce or beginning the process, nostalgic feelings for good times past may become overwhelming. And, while those experiencing these feelings may not want to get back together or stay with their spouse, they may start wondering if they can, at least, have the holidays at the family home. This is especially true for those with children.

Making an Amicable Decision for The Kids

Regardless of one’s legally enforceable options, spouses, whether divorcing or planning to divorce, should put their kids first. This means keeping some sense of normalcy, which is even more important during the holiday season. As such, with the best interests of the children in mind, the family home should still be used for most, if not all, holiday celebrations, if that is the family tradition. Unless there is some danger of domestic abuse, the soon-to-be ex-spouses should try to work together.

Both Spouses on The Title

If both spouses are on the home’s title, then both spouses share occupancy rights. This means that neither spouse can kick the other spouse out, which means, yes, in this case, one can spend the holidays at home.

Not on The Home’s Title

Nonetheless, even for those spouses not on title, they may still be able to stay, at least until a judge determines otherwise. Even though Pennsylvania is not a community property state, where anything acquired during the marriage is jointly owned, the spouse that is not on title will still likely have some interest in the property that will allow them to stay.

How It Works

First, if the home was purchased during the marriage, it is likely that some money for that home came from joint funds or funds from both spouses. This means that, even the spouse not on title, will have some interest in the property. Second, if the home was purchased prior to the marriage, it is likely that those same funds would give the non-titled spouse an interest in the home as well. Finally, even if the home was purchased prior to marriage, and none of those funds were used, the non-titled spouse still has, at a minimum, tenancy rights in the family home. This means that they can likely only be forced to leave through an eviction process. Accordingly, if there is one take away for our Media, Pennsylvania, readers, it is that the family home can be both spouse’s primary residents throughout the divorce process and the holiday season.