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Should You Move Out of Your Shared Home During the Divorce Process?

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.)

Consider your finances before moving out of your shared home

While it's no fun to live in a house with someone you dislike or are divorcing, the havoc that moving out would wreak on your finances 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 spousal or child support, and initiate a discussion with a financial advisor.

There may be legal issues if you move out during divorce

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 for the home? Will one of you be entitled to credits for overpayment or underpayment of the expenses associated with the house?

Consider your custody agreement before moving out

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.

Think about the status of your assets and debts

An important part of a divorce is dividing debts and assets accurately. While the law requires full disclosure of finances in most states, 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. See our Pre-Leaving Checklist for more help.

Plan for your forwarding address carefully

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.

Not sure where to start? Schedule a FREE 15-minute strategy call with a member of our experienced legal team.

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