Should I Move Out During Divorce?
The decision to end a marriage is difficult enough. When you add the pressure of sharing a home with someone you’re about to divorce, the situation can become unmanageable. If you and your spouse are currently going through a divorce and one of you is thinking about moving out, consider the following.
Moving Out Will Affect the Children and Possibly Your Child Custody
If children are involved, consider how moving out will affect them—both now and long-term. Judges look for indications of repeated change when determining custody. If they have reason to believe a child’s emotional wellbeing has been negatively impacted throughout the divorce process, they may be less inclined to favor the parent who no longer lives at the child’s main place of residence. Why? Because they want the child to have the most positive experience possible throughout the divorce. Typically, judges favor stability for children and opt for the least amount of disruption for children during the divorce process.
This is not to say you shouldn’t move out. In fact, in some cases it’s a much better option for all parties involved, especially the children. If you and your spouse can no longer live under the same roof without fighting or otherwise affecting your children’s peace of mind, moving out may be more beneficial to their wellbeing. So long as you and your soon-to-be-ex can agree on terms of a shared parenting schedule, and the agreement is established in writing, the move can proceed without negative repercussions to you. However, before you decide to move out, you should also consult with a divorce attorney about all your options. There may be standing orders in place if the divorce has been filed that may affect where you can move and if you can take the children with you.
Moving Out Could Hurt Financially, Both Now and After the Divorce Is Final
Spouses who split a home mortgage or rental payment may find it difficult to afford the monthly expenses of living on their own. Even if the higher-earning spouse is the one to move out, living expenses can still leave you tight on money. Very often, the higher earner will be expected to financially contribute to his or her spouse. Prior to divorce, this could mean continuing to pay (or at least contributing to) monthly bills and household expenses while also paying for your own new living space. After divorce, this could mean paying spousal support in addition to your own mortgage, rent, or living costs.
Moving Out Now May Mean Leaving Your Home Forever
While not always the case, you must be prepared for the possibility that you won’t be returning to the home you and your family have shared up to this point. If you and your spouse co-own the house, one or both of you will have to leave it once the divorce is finalized. Leaving now could make it difficult to return later, if for no other reason than logistics. Also consider how leaving might impact your ability to collect your personal belongings during the divorce process. Unless you take a complete inventory of your assets, there’s a chance some of your things could get left behind or lost in the shuffle.
Contact Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers for Professional Attorney Advice
Moving out during your divorce won’t “make or break” the case. However, it will most certainly affect the way the divorce is handled and the impact it has on both you and the rest of your family. If you’re contemplating a move, don’t hesitate to discuss the matter with your lawyer. They will likely have a lot of insight on the matter and can direct you accordingly.