Should I Move Out During the Divorce?
Who Usually Stays in the Family Home?
When couples divorce, they should anticipate many significant changes in their lives. One of the biggest things is who gets to stay in the home and who should move out.
During a divorce, the typical custom is for one spouse to move out, while the other resides in their shared home, at least until permanent plans can be arranged. If either spouse wishes to keep the house, they may choose to negotiate a trade during property division, forfeiting other assets in favor of the home. And, in cases where children are involved, the parent with primary custody is more likely to stay in residence, as it makes for an easier transition for the children.
How Moving Out Can Affect Your Divorce Settlement
It’s also important to consider whether moving out of the marital home will have any legal ramifications. In other words, could moving out during a divorce affect your claim to the home, or might it affect your child custody claim if you move away from your children?
These questions can be tricky, and they often depend on several other factors unique to each divorcing couple. However, to break it down, our firm has provided a few simple points to consider before moving out during a divorce.
Before you make any hasty decisions about your living arrangements, consider the following:
1. Moving Out Could Hurt Your Custody Chances
Whenever a couple decides to divorce, their biggest concern is usually the impact it will have on their children. Children are often more resilient than we give them credit for, but we should still do what we can to keep the biggest obstacles out of their path.
When it comes to moving out of the family home, you will, inevitably, have less time with your children (assuming they will reside in the family home with their other parent). Not only could this impact your relationship with your kids, but it could also make you look like a less-involved parent, which could hurt your custody case.
That being said, you can still move out and remain an involved parent—you just need to put in a bit of extra effort. You and your soon-to-be-ex can negotiate a temporary plan where you share custody, or schedule weekly outings with your kids, or you take them to and from school each day, etc. Talk to your attorney about seeking temporary orders regarding parenting.
2. You Could Lose Your Stake in the Home
Depending on how you divvy up your expenses when you move out, you may forfeit some of your stake on your home to your spouse. If, for example, your spouse pays the mortgage because he or she is the primary resident at the home, they may try to use that information in court to retain the house during the property division. For most couples, their home is the most valuable thing they own, so losing it in a divorce can be extremely frustrating.
3. You Could Still Be Paying for Home Expenses
If you move out during your divorce, you may still be responsible for paying the expenses on your family home. In other words, you may pay half of the mortgage, utilities, insurance, and so on. Or, if you were the main breadwinner in your family, you might be responsible for paying the entirety of the bills, especially if your spouse is unable to work for any reason. This can be a big expense to take on alone, especially if you’re moving out, and thus adding to your monthly expenses.
Some of the expenses you'll need to shoulder include:
- Continuing to pay your current home's mortgage and bills
- Rental payment
- Renter’s insurance
- Expense of new furniture
Before you decide to leave the family home, take a good look at your finances and make sure you can afford it.
Need Legal Help? Our Divorce Attorneys Can Help
Dealing with the details of a divorce can be tricky, and figuring out whether or not you should move out of your family home might be best discussed with your divorce attorney. Our team at McKinley Irvin can meet with you to discuss the details of your case and provide the customized, step-by-step guidance you need. We understand how stressful this process can be. Whatever you’re dealing with, our experienced firm is here to help.Contact McKinley Irvin to discuss your case with our Oregon-based firm.