One of the most damaging errors a man can make during his divorce is to voluntarily move out of the marital home. However, every day men facing divorce move out of their home, and every day men going through divorce quickly learn why it can be such a blunder. Once you vacate the marital home, it can be exceedingly difficult to get back in. One of the most common reasons men move out of the home is they feel it is their obligation to be the one to leave even if the divorce wasn’t their idea. The top reason not to leave the marital home “voluntarily” is that it gives your wife’s attorney the opportunity to label you as abandoning the family. Even if you feel you are being bullied into leaving by your wife, you have no obligation to leave the home if your name is on the lease or mortgage. Your wife may try to pressure you with various claims, such as, “It would be best for the kids not to see us fight” or even threaten to call the police. She may also try to bribe you with empty promises of all the parenting time you could possibly desire. However, there is no way to ensure she follows through with these assurances after she has achieved her goal of getting you to leave the house of your own will. Even if she goes to the length of filing for a protective order, having the court remove you from the home allow far more room to argue that despite all your efforts toward maintaining the family routine, you were forced to leave.
By leaving the home voluntarily, you show the court that staying close to your kids for daily interactions is not that big of a deal to you. Even if you were the greatest dad in the world, it sends a contradictory message when you pack your own bags and leave. Presenting the court confirmation of your positive involvement and influence in your children’s lives is the best way to receive a reasonable custody decision. Freely moving out and only seeing your children occasionally do not foster credibility that keeping close to your children is your top priority. Moving out of the marital home establishes a new status quo that could potentially be transitioned into temporary court orders while the divorce is pending, and then end up in the final decree if the current arrangement appears to be working in the eyes of the court. You could be stuck paying far more in child support, but worst of all, receive far less time with your children than you truly deserve all because you foolishly left the marital home.
How Moving Out Impacts Childless Couples
While moving out is tremendously detrimental when you have children, it can also negatively impact childless marriages as well. If you are the primary earner for the household and you decide to find your own apartment while the divorce is pending, there is a chance you could be required by the court to continue paying for your wife’s living expenses as well. Some states can authorize a “status quo order,” meaning if you had previously paid for the mortgage, bills, groceries, car payments, etc., during the marriage, then you will be obligated to continue while the divorce is proceeding. Not to mention if your spouse has a lower paying job, you may also be required to pay her temporary spousal support so she can afford the lifestyle to which she is accustomed. Not only can this be financially crippling while you are going through a divorce, but it sets up a standard the courts can use when it comes to the decree. If you could afford to support your wife like you had for the months or even years it took for the divorce to be finalized, there is no reason for the court to believe you cannot continue to do so after the divorce is over. Additionally, when you leave on short notice, most men do not think to grab copies of all their important financial records. With it being so difficult to get back into the home after you have voluntarily left, it can be nearly impossible to retrieve those documents and you never know what vital files may “disappear.” Even though most can be recovered through the process of discovery, it will drastically increase your attorney fees if your lawyer must spend the time hunting down documents that could have been readily available. The gut reaction for many people who are going through divorce is to leave the home they share with their soon-to-be ex immediately. While the temptation is obviously great and no matter how easy it is to justify convincing yourself that moving out will definitely cut down on conflict and should certainly make the divorce easier be sure to stop, think of the ramifications and consult your attorney before you make such a major decision. In certain situations, leaving the home can severely hurt your case. There are several important factors to consider before you pack up and move out, on both the financial side and dealing with custody if you have children. For most marriages, the marital home is the largest asset. As long as the home was purchased while the couple was married, it is generally considered part of the marital estate and the value should be split. This may make it feel safe to leave, since so long as your name is also on the deed and mortgage, you don’t risk losing out on your share of the value in the home. However, moving out prematurely can lead to other financial complications. If the primary earner (or whoever pays most of the utilities, mortgage and bills) for a household is the one moving out early, some states can institute a “status quo order.” This requires the party to continue paying the marital bills as they did before the divorce, which could lead the person to pay two sets of bills on the same income as they did for one. On top of legal fees, this can be a devastating financial blow that is completely avoidable if you just find a way to continue living in the marital home while the divorce is under way. Additionally, problems are compounded significantly when children get involved. When you are living in the same home, you have daily interactions with you children, but when you move away, you inherently have less time with the kids. It is imperative that you have an agreed upon, and preferably court ordered, placement schedule established prior to either party moving from the residence.
Without an official schedule, you could wind up in a situation where the first person to daycare or school gets the kid which is a horrible position to put your kids. You are stooping down and playing dirty, but it becomes necessary just so you can see your kids. Lacking scheduled and evenly split time with children can also lead to expensive payments and issues gaining fair custody after the divorce. If the parties do not agree on a temporary parenting plan and one party moves out of the house, they risk being denied parenting time, which will end up being a costly battle. Additionally, they can frequently end up stuck with child support payments before the divorce is finalized because they have less overnight time with the kids. Additionally, problems are compounded significantly when children get involved. When you are living in the same home, you have daily interactions with you children, but when you move away, you inherently have less time with the kids. It is imperative that you have an agreed upon, and preferably court ordered, placement schedule established prior to either party moving from the residence.
The day you exchanged vows with your spouse you were ecstatic. You had dreams of a bright future filled with financial security, a dream home, travel, and maybe even a few kids. You never imagined you’d find yourself in the middle of a divorce. Your happily ever after didn’t work out for you, but that’s not something you ever saw coming. It happens to many couples, and it’s not uncommon to wonder what you can do now that you’re in the middle of a divorce. A divorce attorney can help you answer your most pressing questions. The one question many parties have in the middle of their divorce proceedings is what they can take when they move out if the divorce is not yet finalized. Do not move out of your home before your divorce is finalized. Legally speaking, it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Even if your divorce is amicable and you can’t be together anymore, leaving is one of the most legally damaging decisions you can make in the middle of a divorce. The reason is simple. The person who leaves, even if it’s because they’re shocked by the news that their spouse wants a divorce, is legally considered abandoning the family. If you leave the home and your divorce proceedings don’t go as planned, your spouse can choose to play dirty. This means she could accuse you of abandoning her and the kids. She’s more likely to get the house, the kids, and more if it’s determined you voluntarily left the home and family of your own accord.
You’re just wondering what you can take with you when you leave the house before your divorce is final. Your thought process is whether or not you can have the couch or the big screen television without getting yourself into any legal trouble. It’s not an uncommon question, but the bigger picture is you can’t take anything because you can’t go anywhere.
Possession of the Home and Trust
If you choose to voluntarily leave your home for no other reason than to do the right thing, you risk losing the house. Your spouse is able to file paperwork asking for temporary possession of the home. This means you’re unable go into the home for anything before the divorce is finalized. If you leave the home on a voluntary basis, your spouse is left alone with your belongings. While everyone would like to think their spouse is trustworthy with their belongings, divorce brings about an ugly side to many people. Leaving your spouse alone with your belongings is a good way to find out he or she destroyed them, sold them, or got rid of them just to spite you.
Financial Harm in Leaving
Leaving your house before the divorce is finalized means financial repercussions occur. You might rent an apartment or find a hotel for the time being, but now you’re legally responsible to pay half the expenses of the house if your spouse asks the court to make it happen. Now you’re paying for two places to live, two sets of expenses, and you’re not living in the home you love. If your spouse asks a judge to make you liable for child support since you’re not living with the family, that’s another problem. In some states, your spouse has every right to ask a judge for spousal support if you leave the house before the divorce is finalized. Take nothing when you leave your home, and stay put. Your bet financially and legally is to stay in the marital home while your divorce is ongoing. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t lose your home to a technicality or loophole in the law. Try to keep the animosity between you and your spouse to a minimum if you have kids. The last thing you want to do is cause friction with them, with their other parent, and in their home. Do your to live together amicably for the time being. It’s your legal option.
What You Should Expect From a Lawyer
Most complaints people have with lawyers fall into one of four categories and having more than one problem isn’t uncommon either. Here are the main areas of contention:
• ethics, and
Communication With Your Lawyer
Communication problems create problems in all types of relationships—including between an attorney and client. If you don’t know what’s going on in your lawsuit, you might assume you have a bad lawyer. To the contrary, your attorney could be doing a great job. Either way, a lawyer who doesn’t communicate case progress is invariably increasing, not decreasing, your stress.
When you initially retain counsel, your lawyer should:
• explain the options available in your legal matter
• discuss strategy
• provide a timeline for important events, and
• promptly return phone calls and answer your questions.
Keep in mind that this might not occur as quickly as you’d like if your attorney is busy. For instance, it’s common to hear less frequently from a lawyer who is in trial. But someone in the office should be able to explain when you’ll hear from your attorney and assure you that the office is handling your case appropriately.
Your Lawyer Should be Ethical
Each state has ethical laws that bind lawyers. Commonly, these rules require lawyers to:
• represent their clients with undivided loyalty
• keep their clients’ confidences
• represent their clients within the bounds of the law, and
• put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.
Each state has a lawyer disciplinary agency to enforce these rules. The agency can impose monetary fines, require the lawyer to make restitution (such as return stolen money), suspend a lawyer’s license to practice law, or disbar the attorney. Disbarment is exceedingly rare and is usually reserved for lawyers who have committed serious crimes or who have a long record of stealing from clients.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506