If you are getting divorced, or if the situation between you and your spouse is difficult enough that divorce is becoming an option, you may no longer want to live in the same home as your soon-to-be ex spouse. Someone has got to leave. Who will it be? Should you leave the marital home?
Temporary Use and Possession
If there is abuse, or you feel your safety is in jeopardy, then of course you should get to wherever you will be safe as quickly as possible. But absent safety concerns, leaving the marital home may not be the best decision for you.
At the start of your divorce, your family law attorney can ask the court to award you temporary use and possession of the marital home. This does not mean you will get the home in the divorce, or any portion of the equity in the house. This is just a temporary decision as to who will reside in the home while the case is ongoing.
Of course, one spouse or the other can always voluntarily leave the home. Doing so does not forfeit your rights to claim the home as yours in the divorce, or to make any claim on the value or equity in the home. But leaving voluntarily could have other unintended, negative consequences.
Custody and Timesharing Consequences
The main danger is a disadvantage in any pending custody or visitation decisions. If your kids are living in the home, and you are the one that leaves, your kids are now living with your spouse. Even if you visit them regularly, or move somewhere that they can stay with you, the fact is that they are living as a family with your spouse in the marital home, and you are living elsewhere, and that can set a precedent when it comes to a final time-sharing and custody decision.
You are also tacitly conceding that your spouse is fit to be with the children. That may well be the case. But if it is not, it will be difficult to argue that your spouse cannot take care of kids, or cannot be responsible with the kids, but you left the kids with them anyway.
If You Do Leave…
If you do voluntarily move out before the divorce is finalized, try to move somewhere where the kids have a place to live with you (that is, they have their own rooms wherever you move). Additionally, try to move somewhere that is in the children’s school district or zoning area, and to an area that is conducive to facilitate pick up and drop off time-sharing with the children. If possible, stay in the area where your kids have friends, or extracurriculars, so you are not the one “removing” the kids from the life they know when they are with you.
Make sure that you take all of the records and paperwork that you need with you if you do move out. There is no guarantee that, absent a court order, your spouse will let you back into the home later on.
We can help you make the important decisions that have to be made in your diviorce case. Contact our New Jersey Real Estate attorneys at The Law Office of Agnes Rybar LLC for help today.