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If We Get a Divorce, Do I Have to Move Out? 

Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law Aug. 17, 2022

Judge gavel with Justice lawyers deciding.Going through a divorce will be one of the most stressful and challenging times in your life. During this difficult period, you will have questions about the future of your home and whether you must move out permanently. You deserve to know the answers to those questions and what your options are. 

Regardless of your specific situation, your rights should be protected. As an experienced Tennessee family law attorney who has gone through a divorce myself, I want to help. I will explain your options and bring my 40 years of experience practicing law to your case. My firm, Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law, represents clients in Kingsport, Tennessee, as well as Church Hill, Johnson City, Bristol, and throughout Northeastern Tennessee. 

Considerations When Deciding Living Situations  

Keep in mind your safety as you consider whether to leave your family home. If you are worried that your estranged spouse will try to take physical revenge against you because of the divorce, take steps to ensure your safety immediately. If you are concerned about domestic violence at all, you should leave the family home. Speak with an experienced family law attorney to learn about your options when it comes to keeping the home in this type of situation. 

It is also possible that you do not want to leave the family home because of your emotional attachment to it. After years of pouring your income and hard work into the home, it is completely natural if you do not want to give it up. Your comfort and attachment to the home are key considerations to keep in mind. 

Making the divorce as easy on your children as possible should also be a top priority. Deciding who will stay in the family home with the children or choosing to sell the family home and move the children to a new house are important and difficult decisions. 

Living arrangements can become extremely complicated, and it is essential to create as little disruption as possible in the children’s lives. Speak with a family law attorney to learn more about your options for keeping the family home when children are involved.    

Your Options 

Who must move out in a divorce? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Several different options are available for divorcing couples. 

Both Parents Staying in the Home 

It is possible that neither of you wants to leave the family home. Sometimes, it is financially impossible for one person to move out because they cannot afford to rent housing on their own. In this situation, it may be possible for you both to stay in the home. 


Another option is to sell the home. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse would then split the proceeds of the sale as described in the terms of your divorce arrangement. 

Buying the Other Person Out 

If you are financially able to, you may be able to buy the other person out of their half of the home so you can keep it. 


Refinancing and then buying out the other person may be the best option if you do not want to leave the home. You can pay your spouse for their share, refinance the home, and take out a new mortgage loan. Or, if you don’t have the cash for this option, you can give up other marital property that is worth about as much as the selling spouse’s share of the home. 


Bird-nesting is a term used to describe when the children live in the family home all the time and both of their divorcing parents take turns living with them. This allows the children to stay in the environment where they are most comfortable during a tumultuous transition. If you are comfortable with leaving the family home for part of the time, this may be the best option for you. 

Who Gets to Keep the House? 

It’s important to know that the person who stays in the house during the divorce proceedings doesn’t necessarily get to keep it. After the divorce is finalized, the spouse who moves out must receive enough money or property that’s comparable to the value of their share of the home. 

Tennessee recognizes marital property and separate property. So, if you bought and owned your home before your marriage, it would be considered separate property, which is not split in the divorce. 

However, if you bought the home together, then it is considered marital property. The judge will look at a range of factors in deciding how to divide the home, including how long the marriage was, the tax consequences to each spouse, and the ability of each spouse to provide for their own living in the future. 

Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Guidance 

It can be devastating to think about leaving your family home. Protect what matters the most to you and discuss your legal options with an experienced family law attorney. With over 40 years of experience and a detailed knowledge of Tennessee family law, I can help you navigate the divorce process. Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law is proud to represent clients in Kingsport, Tennessee, as well as Church Hill, Johnson City, Bristol, and throughout Northeastern Tennessee. Contact my firm today to request a consultation.