Deciding Whether to Move Out During a Divorce Case

Before and during a divorce is started, many people consider moving out of the marital home.  The decision as to whether to move out or remain in the marital residence is a complex one that has significant ramifications upon property, custody, alimony, and other issues for those with cases in Illinois and Iowa.

Staying or remaining in the marital home during a divorce can have a significant emotional component for many people.  Some individuals will find it difficult to remain in the home if the other spouse also remains.  That is often especially true in cases where the other spouse is being unpleasant, or brings a new significant other to the home.  In other cases, a person may very much wish to remain in the marital home, possibly due to an emotional attachment to home, a hope that matters can be resolved without the divorce being completed, or just out of the need to remain due to a lack of another place to live.

When a couple has children, the situation can be further complicated as there may not be agreement as to how the parenting of the children will be shared and divided after a spouse moves.  There is also the issue of the children’s belongings, school districts, caring for the children during work, and a whole host of other factors.  While some children find a move to be exciting, others find it to be stressful, especially when the move would take the child away from friends and family.  A change in a child’s living situation, such as going from a larger room to a smaller room, or from having their own room to sharing a room, can also affect a child’s reaction to the move.

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In divorce cases where spousal support (alimony) is at issue, the actions that each spouse takes (or doesn’t take) can affect the court’s analysis of the alimony factors.  That is true whether the separation occurs shortly before/during the divorce case, or when it occurred years beforehand.That is because the parties’ standards of living, expenses, etc., all affect spousal support.

The property settlement in a divorce case, to include which spouse is awarded what marital property (often to include the marital home or the equity therein) is also affected by a decision to move out or remain in the marital home.  Such situations are complicated by the financial realities of a spouse or spouses paying for other housing during the divorce.

There is no simple answer as to whether a person should move out during a during a divorce case, as the many factors discussed above (plus others) must be considered together to decide the best course of action.  For that reason, it is best for a person who is considering leaving the marital home to first discuss the matter with their attorney, before they take any action one way or another.