During A Divorce Should I Move Out Of Our House

For most people going through a contested divorce I do not recommend that they move out. The reasons people often want to move out include: too much tension, not being able to sleep on a bed, too much arguing, need for privacy, better for the children and domestic violence.

If there is domestic violence that is the reason that I may recommend moving out, however if the client is the victim I recommend that the client seek to have the spouse ordered out of the house either with an Order of Protection from the District (Criminal) Court or the Family Court. So if it is possible to get the violent and threatening person removed that is my usual first choice.

For most other clients I caution them about moving out for any and all of the following reasons:

  1. Depending upon what each person earns, the person who moves out may still have to contribute to the mortgage, taxes and repairs to the home. For most people that expense in addition to the new expenses caused by renting or moving elsewhere may be too high.
  1. If there are children living in the house a decision will need to be made whether the children are staying in the house or moving out with the other parent. Often the person moving out wants to take the children with them and that might lead to an immediate custody hearing which can be expensive. The children’s wishes will need to be considered especially if they would need to enroll in a different school district. If the children are with the parent that stays in the house the parent who moves out may have to pay child support. If the children are with the parent that moves out then the parent in the house may have to pay child support.
  1. A parenting schedule will need to be created if the parents are living separate from each other. So instead of seeing your children every day whenever you want, now there will be a schedule.
  1. If the person in the house has a support order requiring the vacating parent to contribute to the house expenses, the resolution of the case may take longer. The person living in the house may be less motivated to settle the case because they are living in the house, getting help with the bills and do not have to live with their spouse. So they are in no rush to resolve the case because a resolution may mean selling the house or buying the other person out. Therefore, delay may benefit the person still in the house.
  1. The person moving out may have to contribute to the house expenses for a longer period of time than they thought because of the case taking longer time and the financial burden may become too high. Unfortunately, once a person moves out it will be very hard to get permission to move back in.

Moving out is a major decision during divorce proceedings and should be carefully discussed with an experienced matrimonial attorney. Each case is unique and should be reviewed carefully to avoid making an emotional and costly decision.