What Happens if You’re Divorcing While Your Names are Both on a Lease?
If you are going through a divorce and you and your spouse rent an apartment together, you will need to figure out how you will manage the remainder of your lease.
In some cases, you might have an understanding landlord who is willing to let you out of the lease. Or, you might be on a month-to-month lease, which means you’ll only need to provide 30 days’ notice before you leave, which should be easy to do during the divorce process.
However, it’s not always so easy to get out of a lease, and it can get harder depending on what each one of you wants your living situation to be.
If you both want to leave the apartment…
If you both want to leave the apartment, you should carefully read your lease and see if there is any information about early termination. There are some leases that specifically point to divorce as a reason that will allow you to break your lease without penalty. If no such clause exists, you’ll need to check what the penalty is for breaking the lease. Common penalties include forfeit of a security deposit, or for continuing to make monthly payments until either the lease is up or the landlord finds another tenant to fill the space.
You can look for someone to sublet your apartment to help you avoid the penalty, but the landlord might not allow for a sublet. In such a case, your only option may be to split the penalty with your spouse.
If you both want to stay…
Both of you technically have the right to stay in the apartment. It is in your best interest to figure out a way to resolve this issue yourselves, otherwise the court will have to do so.
Keep in mind, though, that even if the court decides who gets to stay in the apartment, that will not alter the lease agreement you have with your landlord. You’ll need to get the landlord to remove your ex from the lease.
For more information about the steps to take if you’re getting divorced while renting an apartment, contact an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.