Need advice RE: buying a house & potential divorce
If she is working on getting divorced because of an already-abusive relationship, why consider buying a house and having one more thing that ties them together? Unless she has any hope of being able to afford said house by herself, there are only two options for that house: either he gets the house and pays for it on his own, or the house is sold almost surely at a net loss unless they live there for several years (it costs a lot to buy a house but then a lot more to sell it, I'd estimate about 10% between the two transactions that goes to unrecoverable fees). I'm confused as to how they could buy a house (if they're only thinking about buying a house now?) faster than the process of consulting a lawyer and filing for divorce.
The only possible positive I can think of in letting the purchase go forward would be to eliminate the established home of the children as a factor in custody. He won't be able to legally kick her out and have a good argument that it's where the children should stay because the new house won't be any more familiar to them than wherever she will move to. Of course, this only applies if she gets the ball rolling as soon as the move is complete.
I have a really "out there" idea ... does she have resources to be able to afford the rental house on her own (whether that's help from family, savings, expected assets after the divorce, working part-time, etc.)? Could she go along with the house purchase, let him give notice on the lease (which means the landlord would put it up for rent) and SHE be the one to contact the landlord to rent the house and sign a new lease (without telling him obviously)? It would be ridiculously sneaky but a no-conflict way to get him out of the family home--he could pack his own stuff and everything ;-). Just random thinking "out loud," I haven't thought through it enough to decide if it would actually be a good or terrible idea. I assume it will require at least a part-time job to convince the landlord she would be a good renter unless she can get someone else to cosign with her.
I know my response is all over the map here, so to the question: I think that fighting to get her name on the deed of the possible new house has little value because it will be considered a marital asset even if her name isn't on the deed. The mere fact that he wouldn't offer and/or encourage it speaks to his treatment of her unfavorably in my book.
I think it is really smart that she is thinking about this kind of thing. I think talking to a lawyer about it is really the only way to be sure. I don't know that I see much of a reason to go along with buying a house, or fight to get her name on the deed. We're trying to buy a house right now and it's really not easy, nor cheap. There probably are things she should be doing to protect herself, as far as opening her own bank account, trying to build her own credit, and looking for a job or going back to school (possibly online).
Doesn't matter if her name is on the lease, if she has lived there and gets mail there the law recognizes her as a tenant. He can't even kick her out. He would have to go through a legal eviction process...in the case of family law that's usually something along the lines of "motion for excusive use of the residence". She is safe in her home and has equal rights to it.