Another common question I receive from clients early on in a divorce is what effect, if any, will moving out of the marital residence have on the ultimate division of that asset?

Somewhere, a rumor got started that moving out was akin to abandonment of an asset. This is not true at all.

You can move out while the divorce is ongoing and still be awarded the home at the final orders. However, there are some important points to consider when deciding whether to stay or move out:

  • Finances. A divorce can take anywhere from 3 months to well over a year. Supporting the expense of two households while going through a divorce can be extremely burdensome, if not impossible, for many.
  • The Children. With both parents still in the home, there’s no need to set up a parenting time schedule just yet. You can both continue to see the kids every day. However, if the parents cannot refrain from arguing with each other, continuing to live together can have a negative effect on the children by exposing them to the animosity present between the two of you.
  • Property. Many issues arise with personal property division when one spouse leaves the house. A normal part of most divorces includes divvying up the personal property (furnishings, electronics, art, etc.). When the parties no longer live together at that point, disagreements arise as to who has what in their possession, and some items mysteriously go “missing.”
  • Preparation and Listing the House for Sale. If the house is going to be sold, you lose a bit of control over making sure the house is properly prepared to list for sale and over making sure that it is available to show if you are not present and living in the house. Difficulties can arise when the spouse still living in the house is not really invested or interested in moving out and does not cooperate in cleaning or otherwise preparing the house to list for sale and/or in making sure it is open and available for realtors to show potential buyers.

While there can be some risks and hassles involved with moving out, sometimes the mental, emotional, and physical health benefits to both spouses as well as the children outweigh those risks.

If living together seems an untenable position, and you want to move out, please discuss with your attorney beforehand how to avoid the potential pitfalls outlined above.

If you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at (480) 994-8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.