Divorce is a big decision and a very tumultuous time in life. If things in your relationship are bad enough that you have decided to get a divorce, it seems only logical that you or your spouse may also be seriously considering moving out. While getting extra space from each other can be beneficial, voluntarily leaving the marital residence may result in undesirable consequences down the road. Our divorce attorneys in mid-Missouri are here to discuss a few things you should consider before choosing to leave the home.
Your decision to leave the marital home could have a significant impact on how custody is awarded. The court will assign custody based on who will be able to provide for the children’s best interests; if you voluntarily leave your home, your soon-to-be ex could make the argument that you “abandoned” your family. Such an accusation may make it significantly harder for you to get custody of your children after the divorce is finalized. Instead, we recommend asking the courts to establish a shared parenting schedule before you leave the marital residence.
If you are the higher-earning spouse, it may seem obvious that you should be the one to move out, as you are the one who is financially able to do so. You should be aware, however, that vacating the marital residence does not mean you will no longer be required to financially support the home you and your spouse used to share. Divorce courts are focused on dividing the marital assets and responsibilities in an equitable manner – and “equitable” does not always mean “equal.” If you are the one bringing in a higher income, you may still be required to assist with the financial responsibilities of keeping your marital residence going (mortgage, insurance, etc).
It is impossible to predict what documents you may need to produce during the divorce proceedings. Depending on what specific situations and/or challenges arise in your case, you may be required to produce property deeds, titles, pay stubs, loan information, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, and any other type of documentation. If you voluntarily leave the home, getting back in to obtain copies of these documents could be next to impossible. In the worst-case scenario, your spouse may even hide or destroy important documents that you needed to strengthen your case.
Consult With An Attorney Before Leaving The Marital Home
For these reasons and more, it is often wise to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in Lebanon MO before moving out of the marital home. Often, the only time we recommend leaving quickly is if you are in abusive situation where you must remove yourself and/or your children from home in order to protect yourselves. Even then, however, we strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney as soon as you can. Our divorce attorneys in Camden County MO will help you evaluate your unique situation to determine what the best strategy will be for you.