Should I Stay or Should I Go? Five Issues to Consider Before Moving Out of the Marital Home

While each divorce is different, certain issues should be thoughtfully considered before moving out. (Of course, if there is domestic violence or another abusive situation, the goal is to get out now. Or better yet, get the abuser out.)

Hello Divorce CEO Erin Levine answers the question: Can I file for divorce if I’m still living with my spouse?

Your finances

While it’s no fun to live in a house with someone you dislike, the havoc that moving out would wreak on your pocketbook might be even worse. Think about what you can afford. If you are pondering moving out, create a budget, consider whether you will receive or pay support, and initiate a discussion with a financial advisor.

Potential legal issues

Moving out can cause an array of legal issues that may be expensive and time-consuming to deal with, not to mention emotionally draining. For example, who will pay the mortgage, taxes, and insurance? Will one of you be entitled to credits for overpayment or underpayment of the expenses associated with the house?

Parenting agreement

Have you and your spouse reached a custody agreement? Might you be jeopardizing your ability to co-parent or obtain custody if you move out? Do you have the legal authority to move out and take the children with you? Probably not. And the last thing you want is to place your kids in the middle of a terrible fight over where they will live.

If you’re considering moving out, co-parenting counseling, mediation, or a legal motion may be in order. Preparing for parenting apart is a vital step.

Debt and asset status

An important part of a divorce in California is dividing debts and assets accurately. While CA law requires full disclosure, spouses sometimes make a strong effort to conceal information or hide assets.

While you are still living in the home, get copies of all asset, debt, and income information from your personal computer and files. Get records that may be helpful to your various legal claims. It’s far easier to take matters into your own hands now than ask for this information later, during litigation.

Tip: Because personal property has a tendency to “disappear” or get lost in the shuffle, consider creating a photo or video inventory of all furniture, furnishings, and possessions in the home.

Your forwarding address

With the emotional turmoil you’re going through, little things could get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t want your spouse to know where you are moving (for example, in the case of domestic violence), get a post office box, and complete a change of address form with the post office as soon as possible.

Moving out of the marital home is a big deal. Do not make significant financial decisions like signing a lease on a new home or buying a new car before you know if you can afford it. If your divorce has already been filed, make sure the act of moving out does not violate any standard restraining orders. For expert advice on this and other issues, contact us at Hello Divorce today.

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