homeA husband has found a unique way to protest his wife’s demand for a divorce. After she forced him out of their million dollar Texas home and changed the locks, he decided to live on the front lawn. Throughout the day, 69 year old Sharafat Khan can be found lounging in the shade under the palm trees on his property. Confused and concerned neighbors have brought him food and drinks. The gifts of food prompted his wife to post a sign in the yard telling people not to feed him and to take him to their own homes if they want to care for him. Obviously the Khan divorce is not going well.

The family home dilemma
The sitcom-like situation Mr. Khan finds himself in aside, the issue of what to do with the marital home during a divorce is a challenge many couples face. When a divorce starts, one spouse often mistakenly believes that they can change the locks and throw the other spouse out of the house. As Mrs. Kahn discovered, it is not that easy. It is very common for property like the primary residence to be in the name of both spouses. This means that until the matter is decided by the court, both spouses have a legal right to be there. Mrs. Kahn discovered this when she called the police to have her husband arrested for trespassing. Since his name is on the deed, he can remain on the property. In fact, she is likely in violation of the law by locking him out of the house.

A better way to resolve matters
No one wants to suddenly move out of the home they have lived in for many years with only a suitcase. For most couples though, it is impossible to live in the same house while going through a divorce. This is why, if at all possible, it is better to reach an agreement both sides can live with until the divorce is resolved in the court. Whatever can be resolved between you and your spouse without the intervention of a judge will save you time and money during the case.

While there is often a cultural tradition in the United States that the wife stays in the house while the husband moves out, there is no reason this should be the case in every divorce. If you have young children, the court will want the children to remain in the family home with whichever parent will have physical custody. If you do not have any children, or they are already grown, then there is no compelling reason why your wife should stay in the home instead of you.

There is no need for spouses to ever change locks or live out in the front yard. If your spouse surprised you by suddenly asking for a divorce, get legal advice before taking any action. Don’t pick out a shady spot under a palm tree until you speak with a divorce lawyer.