It happens more than you might think – a couple is heading toward divorce, and one spouse tells the other to move out, and he or she does in a misguided attempt to keep the peace (or because the spouse who is moving out does not believe he or she has a choice). The truth of the matter is that if your name is on the lease or mortgage, you do not have to move out of your family home while your divorce is pending – regardless of what your divorcing spouse wants you to do or tells you to do.
What Moving out Can Mean for Your Divorce
You might think that moving out to help keep the peace is harmless enough, but it can actually have negative repercussions for your divorce (and as your divorce pends).
Becoming the Primary Custodial Parent
If it is your priority to become the primary custodial parent with whom your children live the majority of the time, moving out of your family home can work directly against your goals. Because the court’s custody decisions are always based on the best interests of the children involved, it often tries to maintain the status quo (in an attempt to minimize the divorce upheaval in the children’s lives). This means that if your soon-to-be ex is living with your children in your family home when the court determines custody, the fact that you are not living there can work to your disadvantage.
The Cost and Inconvenience
Divorce is stressful and inconvenient, and the last thing anyone wants to do is make it more so. Moving is a surefire way to cause you to shoulder additional costs and stress during the divorce process, including all the following:
You will likely need to find a place to live that does not require a long-term lease, and that is furnished (basically, you are looking for a crash pad while you await your divorce's finalization, which can take a considerable amount of time – but is difficult to predict).
You will need to set up your utilities and do everything else that comes with a move.
It will fall on you to ensure that you are able to see your children. Moving out puts the responsibility of carving out time with your children squarely on you, and there is no guarantee that your divorcing spouse will be amenable to making reasonable arrangements with you.
Think Twice Before Moving Out
Short of a protection order – or temporary orders that say otherwise – it is unlikely that your divorcing spouse can force you to move out, and you should think long and hard before voluntarily doing so. Ultimately, you naturally want to do what is best for your children while you protect your parental and financial rights, and an experienced Lampasas County divorce attorney can help you make the right decisions for you and your children moving forward.