As soon as divorce papers are filed and both spouses are aware of it, the marital home can start to feel like an unwelcoming place to spend the coming months. Many spouses understandably want to get out of the home and live quietly – at least comparatively quietly – with friends or in a small apartment until the divorce finalizes and the whole thing blows over. While this might seem like a responsible way of keeping the peace, it can actually damage the best interests of the spouse who voluntarily moves out.
Troubles with Moving Out of the Marital Home
A judge ruling over the division of marital assets as part of a divorce procedure will need to use their best judgement to decide who gets what and why. If you decide to leave your marital home after filing for divorce, a judge might interpret this as your lack of interest or connection to the property. Should matters come down to a split decision, the ruling would less likely be in your favor.
If you share children with your ex-spouse, leaving the marital home can be even more problematic. Although the gesture might be rooted in the want for your children to see less conflict, the court could see it as a form of abandonment. At the very least, a judge will take the decision as your approval of your spouse’s parenting skills since you have willingly left them alone with your spouse. All in all, your chances of securing full or primary custody will be severely hampered if you leave the marital home without a court order to do so.
Of course, the final concern is a financial one. Can you afford to up and leave the property? Some divorces can take years to finalize so you might be maintaining two households for much longer than initially expected.
Assuming It is Safe, Stay Put
In general, the only time you should pack your things and leave the marital home to your spouse while the divorce carries out is if you or your children are in danger of physical abuse or other forms of domestic violence. You should always do what you can to protect yourself and your loved ones.
If harm is not a concern, you should probably plan on staying put and digging in your heels. Don’t try to make your spouse crack by being difficult and making them leave, but know that you have the right to stay there and exercise it. Only plan to leave when a judge tells you to. You might end up sleeping on the couch or a cot in the kitchen but at least you are not jeopardizing your property and custody rights.
For more information and legal counsel, contact TJC ESQ. Our Rhode Island family lawyers have more than 30 years of legal experience and have handled divorce cases big and small. Call401.216.4414 today.