I am frequently contacted by people who are considering a separation from their husband or wife. I am often asked whether it is better to remain in their family home or to leave. There is no simple answer to this question.
The family home is the most valuable asset for many couples. The equity in the family home is often the major portion of the family’s assets. In the short term, if you leave, you will lose any personal benefit from this asset. You will no longer be living in what was probably a comfortable home and will be living in less comfortable accommodation while your spouse enjoys living in the home. Judges have the discretion to determine who may occupy the family home and when the home is to be sold. It could be several months or even several years before you experience any benefit from this asset.
The interests of children must also be considered. It may be better for the children to remain in the home and it may also be better for the children if their mother and father are no longer living together because of the tension in the home that is caused by a crumbling marriage.
Some couples argue about the arrangements for child custody. The parent remaining in the family home with the children will have the opportunity to set up living arrangements for the children that a court could be reluctant to disrupt. This can give that parent an advantage in a custody dispute.
You should discuss your particular situation with a family lawyer, in Vancouver or elsewhere in British Columbia to help you weigh the pros and cons of staying or leaving.