Why Am I Paying His Rent?

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I met with a wife tonight who is ready for a divorce. They have exhausted the options for making the marriage work, but she cannot get him off the couch – literally – and she is ready to move on with her life.  She has asked him to move out, and he does not know whether he wants to or not.  Some days he says yes, others no.  He has found a place where he can afford the rent, but he does not have the first and last month’s deposit all at once.

Our options are to fight him: bring a motion for exclusive possession, prove that he can afford to leave, make excuses to kick him out and hope a judge agrees; or:  cooperate.  We plan to cooperate.  My client can afford to help her husband pay the deposit on his new place, and she can afford that a lot easier than she can afford a few days of my time in the courthouse trying to get her husband evicted.

Image by spemss via Flickr

To get in front of a judge for thirty minutes typically takes between 2 and 4 hours of an attorney’s time.  At $250 per hour, this is up to $1000.  Coincidentally, the would-be landlord is looking for a $1000 deposit from the husband.  On paper, it costs my client the same amount of money whether or not she takes him to court.  But, in court she runs the risk of a judge ruling against her, as well as the risk of turning her husband against her.

By helping her husband move on with his life, she is making him into an ally instead of an enemy.  She can get him out of the house sooner, and she can make sure that she has a copy of his lease, so she can prove where he lives if she ever needs to prove it.  Also, she is making allies of her in-laws.  Her sister-in-law would be willing to help her brother for a while if she needed to, but it would be difficult for her.  Now, she can be thankful that my client is helping take care of this burden.

There might be some emotional reward to having a judge say that the husband is bad and should be kicked-out against his will.  But my client is smart enough to balance that emotional reward against the financial benefits of making the long-term smarter decision, and I am proud of her for it.

What We Love:  Stepping back from the emotions of your divorce can literally save you thousands of dollars.

Published by Sharon Oberst DeFala

Sharon Oberst DeFala has practiced low-impact safe divorce since 1992.

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