If your marriage is over, the family home is probably the last place you want to be. Nevertheless, there are some factors you will want to consider before you move out.
In some cases, moving out during divorce is the only acceptable option, but in many others, staying in the family home until the divorce is finalized is the best choice.
Do I Have to Move Out?
No. California does not require couples to live “separate and apart” before filing or finalizing a divorce. If you do not want to leave the house you share with your spouse, you do not have to.
Domestic Violence and Safety Concerns
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may need to move out to keep yourself safe. You will need to remove your children from the home, as well.
Create a safety plan to exit the premises safely and request temporary custody as soon as possible. In addition to filing for divorce, consider requesting a protective order to help ensure your safety.
Can I Afford to Move Out?
Many people cannot afford to take care of two households, which is exactly what you will have to do if you move out before your divorce is finalized. Even those who can afford 2 households should not demonstrate this fact, as it may result in spousal support payments once the divorce is finalized.
Review your financial situation carefully and consult your lawyer before packing your things.
Consider Staying with Friends and Family Members
If you cannot afford to rent a new place while maintaining your family home, consider staying with friends and family members instead. This way, you will not have to wipe out your finances or officially change your residence, but you and your spouse can get the time and space you need during the divorce.
Should I Move Out?
Moving out of the family home may complicate your divorce and affect your child custody case. It can also make it more difficult to divide property, particularly if you and your spouse own a home together.
If you can, consider living together with some ground rules or finding another way to share the house. This can keep things simple, especially if you have young children.
How Moving Out Affects Your Children
Children are sensitive to conflict, so moving out may be in their best interests if you and your spouse are arguing constantly. If you do move out, however, plan to spend plenty of time with your kids and consider drafting a parenting agreement and time-sharing schedule to show your dedication.
Judges maintain stability for children whenever possible, so if your kids get used to spending most of their time at home with your spouse, you may have trouble getting the custody arrangement you want.
If you are proactive about sharing custody, on the other hand, the judge will likely want to maintain whatever system you have been using.
Can I Protect Myself If I Want to Move Out?
Yes. If you must move out during divorce, settle as many issues as you can before doing so. Your attorney can help you get temporary orders for issues like child custody and property division, and you and your spouse can work other problems out through negotiation and mediation.
When you leave the family home, make sure to gather all the paperwork you will need for your divorce, make a plan for household expenses, and develop a schedule that allows you to see your children just as much as you did before.
If you haven’t filed for divorce yet, consider filing for legal separation first, as a separation agreement can help facilitate your move and protect your rights. Once you have moved out and settled into your new life, you can change the petition to ask for a divorce.
Whether you choose to legally separate or get divorced, Burch Shepard Family Law Group can help you meet your goals.
We have more than 100 years of collective experience, and we are dedicated to getting real results.
If you are ready to end your marriage, move out, and move on, please call us at (949) 565-4158 or contact us online for case-specific legal advice.