Divorce Attorneys in Bergen County, NJ
What Happens If I Move Out of My Marital Home During Divorce?
There are many reasons why an individual going through divorce would want to leave the family home, ranging from complex emotional issues, financial considerations, and unfortunately, concerns over violence and abuse. That being said, leaving the marital home before a divorce settlement has been reached can very seriously complicate certain matters, especially that of a final child custody agreement.
Unless you feel as though you or your children are in physical danger, it is highly recommended that you speak with our experienced Bergen County divorce attorneys before leaving your marital home in order to better understand the implications doing so may have on your divorce and its related issues, allowing you to make a much more informed and legally sound decision.
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, by practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our firm has consistently been able to offer knowledgeable and effective legal counsel to our divorce and family law clients across New Jersey. We treat each of our clients with the respect and compassion they deserve during the often difficult process of divorce, no matter what situations or issues they may be facing.
Call our office today to discuss your unique needs and concerns regarding your divorce, the implications leaving your home can have on your divorce settlement agreements, and how we can help you in a free and confidential consultation.
Leaving the Family Home
When determining child custody, consistency is often taken into account when determining what is best for a child. Moving out of your marital home may negatively impact the strength of your custody claim if not handled correctly. The parent who remained in the family home may argue that the children would be more comfortable staying there without needing to move.
It is recommended to establish an agreed upon parenting plan before moving out through filing for what is known as a “temporary child custody agreement“, or reaching some kind of mutual temporary custody agreement with your spouse. This agreement should be in writing and should detail a regular schedule which can be adhered to before a final child custody agreement is in place. By establishing a written schedule and sticking to it, the parent who has moved from the marital home also has the opportunity to demonstrate that the children are able to be well cared for by both parties.
If you have children and you do move, stay as close to the other spouse’s residence as possible. This will also be considered when determining both child custody and parenting time/visitation.
How Can Leaving My Home Affect My Division of Assets Agreement during a Divorce?
Many married couples jointly own or rent their family home. By moving, you are not relieved of your financial responsibility for that home. Both parties remain responsible for making mortgage payments, insurance payments, rent, and other household expenses.
Despite all of this, when it comes time to divide your assets, New Jersey law states that the occupants of the family home at the time of divorce do not have a greater legal standing. Both spouses remain equal owners of the family home (assuming that was the case to begin with).
Before moving out, it is recommended to take a few steps to ensure you are protected.
- Make copies of any and all documents. This goes for all financial information such as deeds, mortgages, tax returns, business documents, and really anything which is proof of a major asset or expense
- Take stock of valuables. By photographing and listing all of your valuables, you are preventing your spouse from either misrepresenting or flatly hiding/removing your possessions
- Note all incomes and/or sources of wealth. This is related to point one, but is notable, particularly if your spouse has multiple sources of incomes, trust funds, or other less obvious assets
Leaving due to Domestic Violence
So while there are certain steps we recommend you take before leaving the marital home during divorce, these steps become moot if you or your children are in danger as a result of an unsafe situation in your marital home. If your spouse is physically abusive towards you or your children, it may be better to leave the home as quickly as possible, and take legal action afterwards in order to protect your health, safety, and legal rights.
For example, temporary restraining orders can be requested and fairly easily obtained if there are alleged instances of domestic violence. Furthermore, these legal orders will often require the alleged abuser to vacate the family home until a final restraining order hearing is held, even if the alleged abuser is the titled owner of that home.
However, if you leave your home with your children but do not file for a temporary restraining order, this can be viewed as “kidnapping”, and can seriously impact any future child custody agreement you reach as part of your divorce. So while you may not have the opportunity to discuss your options with an attorney before leaving the home in the case of domestic violence, once you do leave the home, it is paramount that you take legal action of some kind to justify your actions, and protect your parental rights moving forward.
Contact our Hackensack Divorce and Family Law Firm Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process.
If you are considering moving out of your marital home, or if you have already taken that step, our experienced divorce and family attorneys are here to help you understand the legal ramifications associated with this decision, and successfully navigate the various legal issues that may arise moving forward such as temporary child custody agreements, child custody agreements, domestic violence restraining orders, and more.
To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about moving out of your marital home during your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.