What Happens If I Move Out of the Family Home During a Divorce?

When a married couple files for divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to move out of the family home to avoid further conflict and stress before the divorce is final. However, doing so can have a negative impact on several divorce-related issues. 

Financial Complications 

Fortunately, leaving the marital home before divorce does not mean the other spouse will receive the house when the property is permanently divided. According to California community property laws, assets and debts spouses accumulate during the marriage equally belong to both parties. In the event of a divorce, one spouse can “buy out” the other’s share of an asset or sell off the asset and divide the proceeds. 

Although the spouse who moves out of the home may retain his/her right to the property, he/she will still be responsible for continued payments of most household expenses, including the mortgage and other bills. Therefore, the spouse who moves out may have to pay for his/her marital home expenses and the expenses related to his/her new apartment or home. 

Child Custody Matters 

Moving out of the family home while the children stay with the other spouse can lead to a contentious child custody battle. Since the parent who leaves the home will inherently spend less time with the kids, the other parent may argue that changing this arrangement will substantially disrupt the children’s lives. If the children are accustomed to a specific arrangement before the divorce is finalized, then that specific arrangement will be considered in their best interests. 

Married parents can avoid this custody dispute by creating a parenting agreement in writing and establishing the status quo before one of them moves out. Thus, agreeing that the parent who moves out of the home does not give up any of his/her custodial rights. 

If you are interested in filing for divorce in Riverside County, contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich today at (951) 506-6654 for a free initial consultation. Our legal team is backed by a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and has handled thousands of cases. 

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