Should I Move Out of the Marital Home Before My Divorce Is Finalized?


Divorce brings with it many consequences, all of which you are unlikely to contemplate or fully understand until after the fact. A primary question that can come up is whether you should tough it out in the marital home while your divorce is ongoing. This becomes a hot issue especially in cases where the divorce is contentious and emotions are running high. But since we’re talking about divorce, which is often one of life’s most challenging and difficult experiences, it is always best to take a step back and consider the long-term ramifications.

Even in cases where you believe it may be best for all involved, especially the kids, moving out of the marital home may not be the smartest move. You should always discuss this action with your attorney based on the unique specifics of your circumstances so you can get advice that is pertinent to you. On a general basis, however, the consequences of moving out may end up on the decidedly negative side. These consequences can derail your future in terms of finances, as well as custody and visitation.

How Moving Out Could Affect Your Future with the Kids

Moving out could have unfavorable consequences in the long run when it comes to custody and visitation. Once you leave the marital home, you will have less access to your kids. Your spouse may even try to impose limits on when you can see them. Leaving the home without a temporary custody and visitation schedule, as ordered by the court, may leave you at the mercy of your spouse. You don’t live there and you’re likely not welcome, so how easy will it be to remain an effective co-parent?

Less parenting time can lead to a situation that may possibly be used against you in the final custody arrangement by the court. You may be seen as a parent who wishes to play a smaller role in the lives of your children. The parenting pattern you establish during this time period may show the court that a 50-50 split on custody may not be necessary. After all, what’s been set up has been working, so why change it?

If this happens, it could mean you have to spend more time and money fighting for the custody arrangement you want instead of the de facto one you ended up with by moving out. And remember – your divorce could take many months to finalize. How you conduct yourself as a parent during that long time period can have a big effect on what the court decides regarding custody.

How Moving Out Can Affect Your Finances

Moving out while your divorce is pending generally won’t affect the issue of splitting marital property. However, consider other financial factors involved that could arise if you move out. The court may order you to continue paying bills on the marital home that you’ve always paid. At the same time, you will be responsible for your own rent, utilities, and other expenses associated with your new residence. Thus, your bills may double while your income remains the same.

Another financial factor concerns your kids. To continue interacting in their lives, you will need a residence where they can visit and stay overnight. That means you can’t go crash on your best friend’s couch. You will have to provide a clean, safe, and comfortable home for the kids, one that is close to the standards they enjoyed prior to the divorce. Furthermore, you may be required to provide child support to your soon-to-be ex-spouse during this time period on a temporary basis until the divorce is finalized. That will add another expense to your financial pie.

Should You Leave or Should You Stay?

As you can see, the decision to move out should not be taken lightly. Mistakes on this issue can be costly. If you are in an abusive relationship, you should discuss this with your attorney at your first meeting so your attorney can advise you of your options. If you believe you absolutely must go, it’s highly advised that you get input from a legal professional. Every case is unique, and your attorney can review your circumstances to determine what will work best for you and your situation. If you stay, try to remain calm, rational, and understanding – remember, your spouse is going through the same sense of loss, frustration, anger, betrayal, and anxiety that you may be feeling. Divorce is usually not easy for anyone.

Need to discuss this issue with an experienced divorce lawyer? Contact us at (636) 552-4841 or by using our request form today.

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