Think Carefully Before You Move Out

Moving out of the marital home is complicated, emotional, and stressful, but the move must still be made carefully.  Here are some pointers to consider when moving out during a separation:

1) Location.  Some litigants choose the first rental they can afford, even if it’s an hour and a half away from the marital home.  If children are continuing to live in the marital home, distance could cause a logistical nightmare.  How can you share time with the children if it’s a long commute from one home to the other?  How can the children sleep at your place on a weeknight if they’d have to wake up at 5:00 am to get to school on time?

2) Size and suitability for children.  Litigants sometime think their first rental is a stopgap until a permanent home is possible.  Be weary of this line of thinking.  Even if you’re staying in a studio for only three months, how can the children sleep over during that time?  Is it even feasible for them to spend daytime in your small quarters?  If the rental is in a bad neighborhood, will the court be willing to let them visit you?

3) Cost.  While you need to spend enough money to find a convenient location and suitable size, don’t spend all your money.  Within weeks, you may be facing hefty additional financial obligations—alimony and child support.  Additionally, you may still be required to contribute to the mortgage on the marital home until the divorce is entered.  Make sure you have sufficient financial flexibility. 

4) Who keeps the marital home?  Often, the person to initially stay in the marital home is the person to keep the marital home.  Plan accordingly.  If you have your heart set on keeping the marital home, don’t move out.  Consider moving into the guest room or basement instead.