Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Should I stay or should I go? 5 issues to consider before you move out of the marital residence.

While each divorce is different, and every case requires legal advise tailored to the client's individual situation, there are certain issues that everyone can consider before taking the leap to move out. (even if you can no longer deal with your spouse). 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. 

1. Financial Stress: 

While it's no fun to live in a house with someone you dislike, sometimes the stress that moving out causes to your pocket book can feel even more overwhelming. One or two incomes to support one household can often times be a whole lot less stressful than two households. If you are considering moving out, create a budget, consider whether or not you will receive (or pay) support, make a budget, and/or discuss with a financial advisor.

2. Legal Stress:

Moving out can cause an array of legal issues that can be expensive and time consuming to deal with -- not to mention, emotionally draining. Who will pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance? Will one of you be entitled to credits for over or under payment of the expenses associated with the house? 

3. Parenting Agreement: 

Has a custody agreement been reached? Might you be jeopardizing your ability to co-parent / obtain custody if you move out? Do you have the legal authority to move out and take the children with you? Probably not. The last thing you want is your kids in the middle of a terrible fight over where they will live and have them shuffle back and forth without stability or consistency. If you are considering moving out, perhaps co-parenting counseling, mediation and/or a legal motion is in order. Preparing for parenting apart is a very important step.

4. Assessing Finances:

An important part of a divorce in California is dividing debts and assets accurately. While CA law requires full disclosure, sometimes spouses make every effort to conceal information or hide assets. While you are still living in the home, get a copy 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 much easier to take matters into your own hands than ask for it later while your in litigation. Because personal property has a tendency to 'disappear' or get lost in the shuffle, consider taking a photo or video inventory of all furniture, furnishings and possessions you leave in the home. 

5. Forwarding Address: 

With all the emotional turmoil you are experiencing, sometimes little things get lost in the shuffle. If you do not want your spouse to know where you are moving (perhaps domestic violence is an issue?) – get a post office box. Complete a change of address with the post office as soon as possible.


Moving out of the 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, you will need to ensure that you are not violating any standard restraining orders. It's of course, not a bad idea, to schedule a consultation with a trusted and experienced Divorce attorney. 


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