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Should I Stay or Move Out of the Family Home During Divorce?

Once you file for divorce, you will confronted with many major decisions, one big one being whether or not this is the time to move out of the marital home. Not only does the home likely represent your biggest financial asset, but as a family home, it can be of even more emotional value. Now, if a spouse is in an abusive situation, the choice to move out is a straightforward one; moving out may be necessary for you and your kids' safety. In that case, the spouse can request a protective order, asking the judge to get the abusive spouse to move out and to award you temporary custody of your children. If you are in such a situation, then you can go to a family law attorney, or a domestic violence self-help center at court for the legal counsel you need.

In many other circumstances, spouses may be more conflicted about their options when it comes to either staying or leaving. While everyone may be physically safe, having both spouses present can be an unhealthy recipe for continual conflicts and tension, a particularly damaging atmosphere for children. But before any spouse moves out, they will have to reflect on the possible consequences when it comes time to decide child custody, and how it can further lead to financial issues.

How This Decision Affects Child Custody in Denver, Colorado

If your children stay in the home, a judge in a Colorado court is going to look favorably on children staying there after the divorce, if possible. If the other parent is the one who stayed in the home with them, then they may be the ones to get the house. Moreover, this could give the other parent an edge when it comes to child custody. Of course, that can be highly unfair if the reason one parent moved out was to preserve a peaceful environment for the children. In this case, if you are the parent moving out, then you absolutely need to create a written agreement that says you are not relinquishing any rights. Better yet, before either spouse leaves, the parents can sign a written agreement that outlines an excellent parenting plan. If this is not possible in your situation, you may be able to request a court to create a parenting schedule for you. The earlier you have this in place, the longer everyone has to adjust to it.

Financial Considerations

If a spouse moves out, and their name is still on the mortgage or utilities, they could still be liable for these bills on top of whatever they are paying to live in a second residence. This is why a spouse with a considerably higher income can be ordered to pay temporary spousal support to the other spouse. Also, the spouse who remains in the house after the divorce would have to trade a significant amount of other assets to balance out property division. But just because a spouse stays in the house during the divorce, it does not mean they have an edge in keeping it. If you are the spouse who will be moving out, be sure to have an inventory of all the furniture and valuables and pictures before you go. And if you do not yet have a property division agreement in writing, you should only leave with your personal items.

A Few Other Options for Couples Divorcing in Denver

For couples who are able to keep things relatively calm and respectful, there are ways to work together to save stress and money. One such option is sometimes known as "bird-nesting", and it would mean that parents take turns living in the house with the kids, for a week or two at a time in some cases. Then the other spouse can spend a week or two with relatives or friends, or perhaps live in an apartment that both spouses split the costs for. In this way, your children can stay at home, and you might save money.

Then there is the chance of splitting up the house itself, creating some common rooms while splitting up which parent stays where, perhaps creating a schedule as well. Of course, these arrangement are only going to work for the short-term, but they might work well as the divorce is pending.

If you have more questions about how to approach a divorce, or you need to know more about your legal rights, do not hesitate to contact a Denver divorce attorney from Sturniolo & Associates. We are equipped and eager to help families create new futures as swiftly and amicably as possible.

Categories: Divorce, Child Custody
Sturniolo & Associates - Denver Divorce Attorney
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