Can I continue to live in the house after my divorce ifI have been separated for several years?

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Can I continue to live in the house after my divorce ifI have been separated for several years?

My husband of 20 years was cheating on me. Our girls (22 and 20) and I have been living in the family house and he has been living in his own apartment/place for almost 3 years now. I have been taken care of the bills and the almost $50,000 line of credit on the house. The bank will not take his or mine name off the loan. I want to do a uncontested divorce so that I can be done with him in 2 years, however, he will not give me a divorce. If I do that can I still keep the house because of the fact that he has not lived here in almost 3 years ( kind of like abandonment)? I cannot afford a lawyer.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Okay, let's go last to first on this one. If you cannot afford a private divorce attorney or family attorney, talk to legal aid. You may qualify for low cost or no cost services. Second, contact your Pennsylvania bar and see if it has direct programs or knows of programs that offer pro bono services or advice (like an advice line). As to the substance, your husband doesn't have to give you a divorce. You file and if he refuses, you can still ask the court for the divorce. Abandonment is hard to prove, but there may be other options available to you. You do not have to be forced to stay in a marriage you don't wish to be in, especially if you have been separated (living separate and apart with no possibillity of reconciliation). If the bank will not take your name or his name off of the loan, then you need to get a court order to allow you to be awarded the home, and see if you can refinance the house in your name and get a court order for your husband to transfer his portion of ownership to you.


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