A house is typically a couple’s most valuable financial asset, and most people are emotionally tied to their home as well, especially when children are involved. For those reasons, the questions of whether one spouse should move out when the other decides to divorce can be a contentious issue.
Although it may seem like moving out would probably be best for all parties involved, kids included, to avoid conflict, this decision can often do more harm than good in your divorce case. Staying in the house with your children creates several important precedents for the court to consider when making final, binding decisions in regard to your life after marriage.
Before packing your bags, consider the following when deciding whether or not to move out of the family home:
- Effect on child custody – If you have minor children, moving out of the marital residence can jeopardize your custody rights. Voluntarily leaving your children with your spouse practically tells the court you believe the other party is better suited to be the custodial parent, giving the other party de facto custody. Since courts typically favor keeping the kids in the family home, the judge is more than likely to grant your spouse temporary custody during divorce.
- Exclusive possession of the marital home – If you decide to move out voluntarily, your spouse can file a motion with the court for temporary exclusive possession of the house. If the court grants the motion, you will not be allowed to return to the home while the divorce is pending.
- Double the bills – Even if you do not have children, moving out during the divorce can have costly consequences. By moving out of the marital home, you’re potentially added even more to your financial burden. You could be ordered to pay child or spousal support, or contribute to the mortgage on the home. So if you rent an apartment or purchase another residence, you may find yourself supporting two households on one income.
Unfortunately, while staying in your home can legally benefit you, remaining in the home with your spouse during a divorce can be considered troublesome, especially if the divorce is a contentious one. In order to coexist, try to engage in a calm and respectful discussion with your spouse about the situation. Inform her that you intend to stay in the home until the divorce is finalized and that you want to do whatever you can to make the situation as comfortable as possible for both parties.
It is in your, and your spouse’s, best interest to avoid fighting frequently, particularly if children are in the house. Create a fair and balanced budget to figure out who will pay for which household items and divide the bills proportionally to your incomes. Respect each other’s personal space and, remember, this arrangement is only temporary.
If you are interested in filing for divorce in Illinois, contact Wakenight & Associates, P.C. and request a free consultation with our experienced divorce lawyer today.