Many people unknowingly hurt their own family law cases by leaving their family home before they should
One of the most common and harmful mistakes we see a spouse, especially men, make during a divorce is voluntarily moving out of the family home before the divorce is finalized. There are many reasons why leaving the marital home before you are required to can be a big mistake in your divorce process. Here we will discuss why you should think carefully before you voluntarily leave your home during your divorce to try to help you make the decision that is best for you.
You Are Not Required To Leave Your Own Home
When I ask my clients why they choose to leave their home before they were required to do so, many respond that they simply felt pressured by their spouse to leave and felt that they had to. However, unless you are specifically ordered to leave the home because of an issue such as domestic violence, you are not required to leave a home in which your name is on the mortgage or lease. If your spouse says they want a divorce and asks you to leave, even just for some space, remember that it can be extremely difficult to gain access back to your home once you leave. It is very possible that your spouse will try to pressure you into leaving the home by threatening to call the police or by bribing you with promises of what you can have in the divorce, but there is no way you can guarantee your spouse will follow through on those promises once you voluntarily leave and they have obtained what they wanted.
The Effects Moving Out During A Divorce Could Have If You Have Children
One of the greatest problems that is caused when you voluntarily choose to leave the family home is the effect it can have on your case for child custody and time-sharing. If you leave the home before your divorce is finalized, your spouse’s attorney can then use your leaving as a method to claim you have abandoned your family, and this is something the courts take very seriously.
During your divorce, the court will need to determine which arrangement for child custody and time-sharing is in the best-interest of the children. They will determine this largely by looking at evidence that suggests how important it is to you to maintain a close and active relationship with your children. It is difficult to show the court that you value a close and active relationship with your children when you choose to voluntarily move away from them and accept only a limited amount of time-sharing during your divorce.
When you are going through the divorce process, it is common for a temporary order to be put in place that establishes how custody and time-sharing will be split. If you choose to leave the family home voluntarily and your spouse’s attorney makes the argument that you have abandoned your family, this temporary order may only grant you limited custody right and minimal time to spend with your children. Once such a temporary order has been established, it is then an up-hill battle to show the courts that such an order is not in the best-interest of the children and to have it changed in the divorce. Choosing to move out of your home voluntarily before your divorce is finalized establishes a status quo that the courts may use to enter a final parenting-plan and time-sharing arrangement that is not in your favor. This could cause you to end up being responsible for far more child support than you should be responsible for, and more importantly could cause you to lose valuable time-sharing you should have with your children.
The Effects Moving Out During A Divorce Could Have On A Couple Without Children
At this point you may be thinking it is ok if you move out of your marital home during your divorce because you and your spouse don’t have any children so you don’t have to worry about the effects moving out would have on a custody arrangement. However, moving out of the marital home before your divorce is finalized can be just as damaging to a spouse who has no children.
If you were the primary income earner in your marriage and you choose to move out of the marital home during your divorce, the court could still order you to continue to pay for your spouse’s living expenses as well. Once again, this establishes a status quo that could wind up costing you greatly in the future. Additionally, when one spouse chooses to leave the home voluntarily before the divorce is finalized, they usually leave behind valuable items or important documents that could be difficult to recover later on in the divorce process.
Where Should You Live During Your Divorce?
As you can see, the best thing you can do while your divorce is still pending is to remain in the marital or family home with your spouse. Of course, you will want to avoid confrontation and conflict, so try to come to an agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse on how the two of you can continue to live in the same home while the divorce is pending – maybe this means moving to a guest bedroom or managing your time in a manner that keeps interactions with your spouse to a minimum. If you and your spouse do have children, try to continue to spend as much time and play as active of a role as is possible in their lives. We know that moving out may seem like the easiest way to reduce stress and tension during the divorce, but it usually winds up being one of the greatest mistakes you could make in your divorce. Always talk to an experienced family law attorney before you make the drastic decision to move out of your own home while your divorce is still pending.
Experienced Florida family law attorney fights to protect your rights and best interests throughout your divorce
If you and your spouse are currently going through the process of getting divorced, or if you are contemplating divorce, you need the compassionate and skilled family law attorney, Michael C. McGinn, P.A. Contact us today for your FREE initial consultation. Mr. McGinn has a wealth of experience handling many Florida family law cases and is prepared to protect and maximize your legal rights and interests. Call us at 813-374-0353. Mr. McGinn is licensed in all Florida courts; he frequently handles cases in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco, and Polk Counties, and has occasionally handled cases outside of the immediate Tampa Bay Area as well.