Can I move out of the house prior to getting a divorce? 26 Answers as of April 28, 2011

If I move out of the house before we get our divorce will this hurt my chances of getting child custody? I am a 38 year old stay at home mom with 2 children.

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Masson & Fatini, LLP
Masson & Fatini, LLP | Richard E. Masson
Per Family Code Section 3046, a temporary absence by a parent from the child cannot be considered by the courts so long as the absence is a result of threats, intimidation, etc., by the other parent, the absent parent has made a reasonable effort to maintain regular contact with the child, and the absent parent did not abandon the child. So, if you leave the home without your children and it is because your spouse is threatening, intimidating, abusive, etc., your absence is for a short duration, you make a reasonable effort to maintain regular contact with the children, and your absence isn't an intent to abandon the child, the court CANNOT use your decision to leave the home against you in determining custody.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/28/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
It does not matter which house you live in. What matters is the 'best interests of the children'. You need a stable, safe living environment, with enough room for the children. Will they have to change schools? Are there other logistical issues about which you and your ex- will fight? The impact on the children is what the Court will look at most closely. If you have to leave to preserve your sanity, or because the situation is abusive (and if it is abusive for you, it may be abusive for the children), then do so.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
Law Office of John C. Volz
Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
The courts generally like to maintain the status quo when awarding custody of the children. Therefore if custody is an issue the court will look at where the children will be living, who they will be with and what the best interest of the children is. Residing in the house is a factor, but not the only factor in determining custody of the children.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
No, moving out of the house will not have any affect on who wins custody at the end of the day. It may affect the temporary standing of the parties however. Temporary Orders are just that "Temporary" and intended to hold everyone at a level playing position until the final hearing. So, if you move out and leave the kids, he is more likely to win temporary custody since he has possession and a place for the kids to live - but this is only temporary - not the final hearing and it is not assured. Same holds true if you move out and take the kids, you have possession and most likely therefore, a place for them to stay and you have a better chance of winning temporary custody - but that too is not final - only temporary. The more poignant question is where will you go? Do you have a place to stay/live? Has there been any family violence that could be used to kick him out of the house so you do not have to move?
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/27/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
There is nothing that restricts a person from relocating out of the family home. However, such a relocation can impact certain divorce issues. Custody, for example may be affected. The family home is often viewed as a stable location for children when a divorce is pending. As a result, the person remaining in that home may have an advantage at least for temporary custody.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Martin Blank
    Law Office of Martin Blank | Martin E. Blank
    There are not enough facts to properly answer this question. For example, are the children going with you? Often, but not always, leaving the children behind will hurt your chances for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/28/2011
    Pisarra and Grist
    Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
    Yes. You can read my books, A MAN'S GUIDE TO CHILD CUSTODY and A MAN'S GUIDE TO DIVORCE STRATEGY, available online and as an E-Book on my website.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Yes, you can move out. However, that can affect future custody/visitation orders. I.e., if the parties cannot reach an agreement on visitation (thus requiring court intervention), then the court will look to the "status quo" of the prior and existing visitation schedule. If one parent has chosen not to spend much time with a child because they moved away, that can affect any custody/visitation order. Best to contact a local family law lawyer to discuss your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, it could hurt your chances of getting custody of the children if you just leave without making provisions for your children. No matter how bad the circumstances are, except for brutality, you should stay and try to work out an agreement about the children, child support and whatever else is needed to dissolve the marriage and take care of the children. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    You can move out of the house before getting a divorce, but if you want custody of your children, you should either take them with you, or you should promptly file a divorce case and seek the custody of the children. If you move away from the children and cease to act as their primary parent for any appreciable period of time, that could harm your ability to get custody of the children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    You could, but unless there is extreme abuse, you are hurting your custody argument via his abandonment argument. However, you could also leave with the kids, as either parent has equal rights to the children while married. You would immediately need to file for divorce and ask for a temporary support order. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    If you move out and leave the children at home you will definitely hinder your chance for primary custody. However the rule for awarding primary custody is always the best interest of the children. You must have competent legal counsel for a custody dispute, or you risk losing primary custody. If you "blow" the first chance you will probably live with that consequence for a very long time. Do not risk this issue!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Rice & Co., LPA
    Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
    Though every situation is different, generally speaking, moving out of a house would decrease your chances of being awarded the house in the divorce. Moving out leaving the kids behind would tend to decrease your chances of being awarded custody. Moving out taking the kids with you presents a pretty complicated issue. It would be wise to consult an attorney before making any moves so you can analyze your particular situation.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Whether you move out is largely irrelevant to anything directly. Obviously, if you move out and leave the kids, that might be something that your husband would try to use against you - but whether it does him any good depends on the actual facts. If, for example, you leave due to fear of physical violence and have no means of caring for the children for a short period of time, you are not going to be penalized in any way. On the other hand, if you leave and have no contact with the children for the next 6 months moving out might suggest you shouldn't have custody. Ideally, you and your husband should work out a plan for both short term and long term arrangements to maintain separate residences while sharing time with the children. If that isn't possible, a judge can decide who gets to stay in the home and for how long.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Are you trying to take the children with you? do you want the house? There are questions that need to be answered before your question can be properly answered. Please call the office so that we can discuss your case privately.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    You can move out of the house without hurting your chances of obtaining custody. However, you will probably not want wait too long before filing your divorce so that you can get some temporary orders in place to address custody and support in the meantime. If you want to move out, but do not want to file for divorce yet for whatever reason, you could also file a special type of complaint for custody and separate support until the actual divorce is filed. In any event, you should speak to a divorce attorney to determine what options would be best for your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You do not have to wait until the divorce is final to move out. You can file for custody and visitation orders now and move out now. If you are in my area and are looking for any attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Assuming that you would take your children with you and be able to care for them in same manner as they have been cared for in your current home, the answer should be no, should have no effect whatsoever on your fitness to have legal custody or share in such custody.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    you can move out but move out with the kids to maximize the amount of time the court will order you to have at the conclusion. Why do you want to move out? If there is domestic violence, you can get an order forcing him out.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    Yes you can move out, but if you do not take the kids with you your child custody case will become difficult. Call an attorney before you make any big decisions like this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You do not state if you plan to take the kids with you. You should keep them with you. Instead of leaving you can start the divorce and ask for exclusive possession so you can stay there with the kids. Courts tend to grant those motions if there is upset and tension in the household that is distressing the kids. If you wish to discuss further you can contact our firm.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Please do not move out of the house and do not take any action until you get some solid legal advice from a good divorce attorney. You are a stay-at-home mom looking to get custody of the two children. There are a lot of issues that you will face, including custody, and child support, and how you are going to be able to raise the children and pay for it. The assets that you and your husband have acquired have to be divided, including the house, the cars, the bank accounts, pension and retirement accounts; the debts have to be divided up too. You may be entitled to alimony, payment from him to you, on top of all of this. There is a lot to talk about and plan for you. Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    No unless you move to a poor environment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
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