Compassionately Guiding Clients Through Divorce And Estate Planning

Should you leave the family home during a divorce?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Divorce

Your marriage is ending – and it’s wildly uncomfortable for you and your spouse to continue living together under the same roof. You don’t like the idea that your children are exposed to all of the tension between you and your co-parent, and you hate the stress.

Moving out right away may seem like the ideal option – but you need to put the brakes on your plans for a little while. Leaving too soon can actually be highly damaging to your goals. 

You custody options can be limited

Your heart may be in the right place when it comes to the idea of wanting to protect your children from the emotional strain of the situation, but your children are also going to be upset if your simply leave. 

Worse, your spouse may try to portray your actions as mere abandonment, especially if you leave without any kind of temporary orders in place that allocate you the right to share in legal decision-making for your children (custody) and parenting time (visitation). Without those orders in place, your spouse automatically can be considered the children’s primary caregiver, and that could damage your ability to get equal custody later.

You could be putting yourself in a difficult financial situation

Leaving the marital home doesn’t absolve you of financial responsibilities for the household expenses – particularly if you have children. 

If you are the primary wage earner in the household, your spouse can request temporary spousal support, child support, coverage of their legal fees and more. You may find it much harder to afford your bills or a place that will easily accommodate your children.

At a minimum, you shouldn’t move out of the family home until you’ve sought legal guidance that’s specific to your situation. Since every divorce is as unique as the people involved, that’s much better than trying to figure out your next move all alone.