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Does moving out affect divorce in Missouri?
How Can Moving Out Affect Your Divorce?
Before you decide to move out, know that there are consequences involved, from child custody to property division. While you may feel an urgent need to leave, particularly if your safety is at risk, you should also be aware of the potential consequences if you leave prematurely.
It Can Harm Your Child Custody Claim.
Moving out during a divorce significantly affects child custody. It reduces the time spent with your children, potentially damaging your relationship and impacting your custody claims. Children are sensitive to home tensions and typically dislike witnessing parental conflicts. While moving out may offer temporary relief, it can ultimately diminish your prospects of securing custody.
Courts generally aim to minimize drastic changes in a child’s living situation or schedule, including significant alterations to parenting time. If you spend less time with your children during the divorce process, it’s less likely to change after the divorce is finalized.
One approach, if you choose to move out, is to establish a custody arrangement or parenting plan in advance. This safeguards your time with your children. It’s also crucial to prioritize and actively participate in their lives during the time you do have with them.
By demonstrating a genuine interest in being a parent, you present yourself favorably to the court. The more involved you are in their daily activities, the greater the likelihood that your active presence will persist after the divorce.
It Can Affect Your Finances and Property Division.
Expenses such as furniture, rent, and household items can add up quickly, especially when you have to cover all the bills with a single paycheck, which can be a significant change.
Your financial actions during this time can establish a precedent that may be expected to continue after the divorce is finalized. For instance, if you start paying bills in both homes, you might be obligated to continue providing that financial support.
During asset division, your house becomes a major consideration. When you move out of a home where your name is on the title, it can potentially weaken your claim to ultimate ownership. If there’s a dispute over who should be awarded the house, determining ownership becomes a complex matter for the court.
You will lack access to paperwork.
When people move out of a shared home, they often overlook the importance of paperwork. In the case of divorce, a wide range of records is required, including:
- Bank statements
- Life insurance policies
- Loan documents
- Retirement papers
- Credit histories
- Other financial records.
Do not move out and abandon these documents, although many individuals tend to do so. They are easily overlooked and may not be the primary concern at the moment. Even though most things are done online nowadays, you might still receive physical statements at your home.
Moving out not only affects paperwork access but also poses challenges regarding other belongings. If you fail to pack all your possessions before leaving, regaining entry into the house can be difficult. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for an ex-partner to damage or discard items their exes left behind.
Moving Out Can Impact Spousal Support Payments.
Moving out doesn’t exempt you from financial obligations and your share of the bills. Temporary orders may mandate your continued contribution to household expenses, even if you no longer reside in the home. This can establish an unfavorable precedent for spousal support, as the court may assume your ability to afford a specific monthly amount. Consequently, what starts as a temporary situation could become a long-term financial burden, with you paying for bills that no longer benefit you.
As you stay with friends or relatives, you might unknowingly provide the court with evidence regarding your ex’s financial needs and your own affordability, regardless of its accuracy.
Conversely, moving out of the home can sometimes create a favorable spousal support precedent. If your ex assumes full responsibility for financial matters and home maintenance, it may suggest reduced need and lead to lower support payments. However, this approach entails some risk. Furthermore, paying a significantly lower amount in monthly support can potentially work to your advantage in future legal proceedings.
Should you move out?
In most cases, it’s best to stay in the marital home during a divorce. This way, you won’t lose access to your belongings and important documents, and it’s a temporary situation until the divorce is finalized. Additionally, maintaining contact and communication with your spouse can help expedite the settlement process.
However, if your living situation becomes unsafe, you may need to move out. Unless the court specifically orders you to or it’s a safety issue, it’s generally not recommended to vacate until temporary orders are in place.
The only time we suggest leaving quickly is if you’re in an abusive situation and need to protect yourself, your children, or both.
Even then, it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
If you ultimately choose to leave, consult a family law attorney and make necessary custodial and financial arrangements before leaving, as it can save you significant trouble in the long run.
Contact Shea Kohl Law, LC at (636) 946-9999 for guidance and support in making the right decisions for your family. Our St. Charles, Missouri divorce attorneys can assist you with inquiries related to finances, property division, child custody, and more, particularly when considering moving out of your house before a divorce.
Call Shea Kohl Law, LC at (636) 946-9999
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.