This issue is determined by state law, because bankruptcy law defers to state law exemptions concerning property rights (except in jurisdictions where the federal exemptions apply and are elected by the debtors). So, there is no "one size fits all" answer.
More than likely, your specific circumstances have never been litigated before, because of the variety of jurisdictional possibilities. As an example, in California, the homestead is only permitted where the debtor actually resides in the home on the date of filing of the bankruptcy petition
. However, if the debtor's former spouse resides in the house at the filing date, the debtor spouse can still use the exemption, while legally separated.
Hope this helps.
NOTICE: My goal here is to educate others about the law. I am always available to answer your follow-up questions after you click Accept – however, if you do not click Accept, the website gets paid, and I receive nothing. This is true, even if you are on a subscription plan. So please click Accept, so that I will be able to continue to provide this service for others in the future.
And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“To Socrateaser”), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!