For many, a divorce is not a sudden decision. For months or even years, the couple will likely experience a diminishment in love, caring and positive feelings. In fact, a significant number of couples state that they have simply grown apart and wish to end the marriage. In these situations, the partners likely begin wondering if they should just move out to eliminate unnecessary stress in the household and start building their post-divorce life a bit earlier in the process.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. While every relationship is different, every divorce, likewise, follows a unique path.
When you choose to move out and how you accomplish this task can have a dramatic impact on the course of the divorce. For example, if you choose to purchase a home to begin your post-divorce life, the court will likely consider this new house to be marital property subject to property division during the divorce. Even if you do not purchase property, but rent an apartment using a joint checking account, you might be held accountable for that money when spousal support is determined.
Additionally, moving out limits your access to important financial documents. Tax returns, bank statements, medical records, business valuation and other paperwork might be stored in a filing cabinet in a home you have removed yourself from. If you do choose to leave during the divorce process, make sure you have copies of these critical documents.
Important considerations to remember
While every situation is unique, there are two important considerations that must factor into your decision to move out prior to the divorce finalization. First, if you are the victim of any type of domestic abuse you should remove yourself from the location as soon as possible. Whether it is physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse, your situation will likely become more tenuous as the divorce progresses.
Second, if you have children, you must consider how your actions will affect them. Will they see you differently for leaving? Will they see you differently for staying? If you choose to stay and get into constant shouting matches with your spouse, you are not helping the children navigate the emotionally charged situation. It is wise to discuss all these scenarios with your chosen legal professional so you can receive the guidance and insight you need to make the right decision.