Don’t Move Out Before the Divorce is Final
As tension escalates in a household where divorce is brewing, the inevitable question arises of which party is leaving the house. This is traditionally a volatile topic of conversation and potentially triggers considerable stress. Although in some scenarios it is clear who will move out and this component of divorce actually becomes nothing but an inconvenience; it is a rare occurrence. Keep in mind, however, that if you are the one leaving, there are several details to consider.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Unless there is a domestic violence issue or some kind of danger to the wellbeing of children or the other spouse, you are not required to agree to leave. If both parties own the home, you both have the same rights to stay. Of course, continuing to live together in the midst of divorce is generally a bad idea and at the very least, awkward and uncomfortable. If you happen to live in a sprawling property where it is easy to avoid contact, perhaps staying in the same home is doable but the sensible approach is to draft a written agreement on who is moving on. Leaving this dispute to linger only makes it worse and can also be very costly.
What about the Kids?
Divorce always affects kids the most and if you still have children at home, it is critical to look closely at custody details before packing your bags. If you simply up and leave without a written agreement on parenting division, it will likely come back to haunt you in divorce proceedings. Judges typically don’t take kindly to absentee parents or those who don’t at least attempt to provide the best possible situation for the kids.
Remember that your decision in this matter greatly impacts how you are viewed as a parent in a judge’s eyes. Be sure you are familiar with laws specific to living scenarios, such as Michigan’s “Best Interests of the Child” factors. Judges look at 12 specific details when reviewing custody, including a stable environment and permanence of the family unit.
Don’t Leave Your Valuables Behind
More often than not, a decision on who is moving out is made in the middle of a heated argument and that never ends well. One of the parties throws together a loose semblance of belongings and exits the premises with no real thought about tomorrow.
But once you’re out it’s far more complicated to return for other things. Make copies of important documents and discuss high value and heirloom-type items with your spouse before leaving.
Look to the Future
It is very difficult to do in the heat of the moment but critical to take a responsible view of your family’s future. Cases involving children always include more scrutiny and Michigan courts have significant discretion in custody scenarios, which directly impacts timing on moving out of the house. One potential decision is “nesting,” where a court decrees that the children stay put in one home and the parents rotate through that location.
In all cases, remember to consider consequences of your actions before taking them.
Familiarize yourself with applicable laws and reach out to the experts at The Gucciardo Law Firm at 248-723-5190 to discuss your options.
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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.