If I leave my wife will she get full custody of our children? 23 Answers as of July 12, 2013

If I initiate the divorce and leave my wife, will she get full custody of our children? Will my reason for leaving influence the court's decision on child custody? What if I leave the house entirely during the divorce?

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Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Locally, I would recommend staying in the home, filing for divorce, and then seeking the court's permission to leave. However, during that time awaiting trial, you must be prepared to continue to support the former household during the pendency of the divorce. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/24/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You will have better chances of getting better custodial rights with your children if you don't leave your children during the divorce. If you do leave, you should quickly seek child custody rights from the Court, because if the children get used to living with your wife and without you, the Court may be reluctant to uproot your children from the person and place they have been accustomed to being with. The reasons why you want to leave (which you didn't reveal in your question) might or might not bear on the court's custody rulings - I can't tell. Your relationship with your children and your wife's relationship with your children and your and your wife's relationship with each other are things that would be of interest to the Court in making its custody determination.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
The court will implement a parting plan in the best interests of the children. Separation alone should not be a factor.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/20/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Yes, leaving can and often will adversely affect you receiving custody. Consult with a local matrimonial lawyer on this matter. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/17/2011
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
California is a no fault state, meaning that the reasons for a divorce have no bearing on any custody or any other aspect in a divorce. A court will look into what is in the best interests of the child. Unless there are issues of substance abuse or domestic violence, a court will not consider the marital issues in a custody matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/16/2011
    The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Vanessa Reed
    I would recommend that you do not leave the home until some agreement has been reached about the separation and custody/visitation of your children. Leaving the martial residence could be used against you, and could be argued as "abandonment/desertion." This could potentially impact the child custody outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Here is a link you may find useful: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/Notebooks/Pathfinders/ChildCustody/childcustody .htm
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The children's best interest is the deciding factor - not who left or who did something else. Many factors are considered in deciding best interests, but the basic premise is that it is not a one parent or the other argument. Both parents need to be involved in parenting and the only real question in almost every case is how that responsibility and privilege is to be shared - not if it will be shared.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, the court evaluates a number of factors in determining the residential schedule for the children, including which parent has been providing the majority of the care for the children. See an attorney before you move out, as moving out can increase the odds of the children being placed primarily with her, since once you move out she is then clearly providing the majority of care for them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you leave the home and leave the children in the care of the mother, that can have an impact on custody. I would recommend that if you leave that you file right away and try to see the children as much as possible. It would be best if you filed before you left and get some orders prior to leaving. That way, you are not prejudiced by the fact you left.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Who leaves and who starts the proceedings has no bearing on custody.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    First, let's deal with the term "full custody," as it is often misunderstood in the state of Washington. Assuming that neither parent has any major problem like alcohol addiction, drug addiction, nor domestic violence, the court is going to pick one of the parents with whom the children will live the majority of the time. The other parent will get some sort of schedule of visitation with the children. Now, it should not make any difference who leaves the home, particularly when you consider that if you are still both living in the house once the divorce is started that the court is going to order one of you to move out. However, in considering the children, the court will want to create an arrangement that disrupts the children's lives as little as possible. Typically, that means that the court will want the children to remain in the family home. It also means that the person who is still living in the family home as a slight advantage over the other spouse in being the primary residential parent. As to whether your reason for leaving will make a difference that is going to depend upon what that reason is. For example, suppose that you told the court that your reason for leaving was that your spouse was drunk all the time. The court is going to wonder about that. Specifically, it is going to wonder if your spouse's drinking was so horrible, why did you move out and leave the children with her. It is going to wonder why you didn't take steps to protect the children.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    A lot depends on the law of the state that you live in. Do you live in New Jersey? Or does the other person live in New Jersey?
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    Timesharing and parental responsibility is based on whatever arrangement is in the best interest of the children. You moving out would have nothing to do with that. However, even if you move out, you will have a continuing obligation to support the children and possibly your wife. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available. If you would like to coordinate a free initial telephone consultation, please contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    In Ohio and Michigan when you file for divorce you have the option of seeking shared parenting or even sole custody for you. The court will look at the situation and in Michigan with the assistance of the Friend of the Court will determine the parenting program in the best interest of the child. Please contact a local attorney for further information and consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    It is common for one party or the other to move out of the marital home during a divorce. This is not held against the party that moves out, because they usually have a good reason to leave. As long as you still regularly see the children and spend time with them, you will have as good a chance as she will to get custody (or primary time-sharing) with the children.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Law Offices of John J. Ferry, Jr. | John J. Ferry, Jr.
    Custody of the children usually is determined by what is in the best interest of the children. In Pennsylvania, there are a number of factors that are considered. Your reason for leaving may have some influence on the custody determination, but only to the extent that it affects the children. Consult with a family law attorney before you take your next step.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    There is a statute that says that if a parent moves out, it should not impact the future decisions, although, that statute is not completely followed. You would be best to talk to an attorney about your situation before you act.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    The court makes the person who is closest to the children, who performs the most parenting functions the primary caretaker if that is in the best interest of the children. So if you are the primary caretaker, take the children with you. If not, and you don't want to create a long term pattern where you are the primary caretaker, you probably won't be named the primary caretaker. The more you perform parenting functions, the more exposure you will probably be awarded. If you leave, it will be hard to perform parenting functions unless the children go with you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You have given no facts to answer the question. You should NOT do anything until she see a lawyer and determine a plan of action.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Whether you have to leave the house and file for divorce will not determine custody, unless you somehow neglect your children in the process. Who gets custody, and what type will be based on what is shown to be in the children's best interests. It doesn't have anything to do with who leaves the relationship, although some of the same reasons for the breakup are often relevant.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    None of what you mentioned will effect your ability to have time with the children. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
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