Plans to Leave: How Moving Out Can Affect Your Divorce Proceedings
At The Law Office for Family Law, our Clearwater, Florida divorce attorneys are often overwhelmed by the number of people who believe that if they are the one who moves out of the family home, they are conceding defeat before the divorce proceedings even begin. That is simply not true.
The truth is, either spouse may move from the marital house without the court raising the issue of abandonment of the home since Florida law does not address the issue as desertion where the home is concerned. However, it may influence the ruling for child and spousal support against the party who moved out.
Making the Decision to Leave the Marital Home
Deciding to move out of your marital home is an incredibly tough decision and is typically the final step to an impending divorce. The move is often the result of continued stressful or contentious behavior that can no longer be endured by one or both parties. When one spouse decides to move, it is unlawful for the other to lock the other person out of the home or to change the locks without a court order.
Exclusive use must result from the evidence that living together creates an intolerable situation – not simply the accusation that the two people are no longer able to live in the same home together. The judge is typically unwilling to take one party’s word for it, so proof must be rendered at the time of the exclusive use request.
If one spouse is awarded exclusive use and possession of the home through a court order the other person is not deprived of the property rights associated with the home but will be restricted from using the property or entering the premises until the divorce and property distribution case are resolved in court.
What If My Name is on the Lease or Deed of the Marital Home?
First and foremost, until a court issues an order requiring either you or your spouse to leave the home, you both have equal rights to it. Filing for divorce alone does not force either one of you to leave unless a court orders one of you out of the home. In contested divorces, the court may decide which person gets to stay, and which must leave, when spouses cannot come to an initial agreement on who lives in the home.
If the home was purchased together, each spouse has a shared financial interest in the property, and the fact that one person has moved out of the home does not diminish or affect that in any way. One spouse may stay in the home while the other accepts the fair-market value for half of its worth, or both people can move from the home, and accept their half of the total selling price.
What If There Are Minor Children in the Home?
When minor children are living in the shared marital home, moving out may have higher implications than if it is just the couple alone.
When one parent moves out, leaving the children behind with the other spouse, the court may view this action as awarding custody to the parent in the home, believing it is in their best interests to stay there.
In addition, the courts may allow the primary care provider, the spouse still living in the home, permission to maintain the home until the youngest child turns 18. Although both spouses will still maintain property rights to the home, it will affect who lives there when the divorce is final.
How Does Moving Out Affect Child Support and Spousal Support Decisions in Florida?
Moving out will affect your overall finances and that of your spouse, as you are now paying for two homes. The courts will determine who is the breadwinner based on your incomes and assets and make their decision on who should keep the family home based on who can afford it.
If moving out relinquishes, albeit temporarily, physical custody of the children, it will also affect the amount of child support, spousal support, and additional expenses you pay during the divorce proceedings, and the permanent payments that are court-ordered thereafter.
Contact Our Prominent Family Law Attorney in Clearwater, Florida
No matter where you live in the State of Florida, divorce is complicated. Especially when one spouse is considering leaving the family home to expedite the proceedings. No two couples have the same circumstances, and when one person wants to move from the home to decrease the stress under the roof, s/he should not be penalized for their decision. At The Law Firm for Family Law, our Clearwater, Florida divorce attorney will provide the facts you need to move forward in a new living environment, whether it is just you and your spouse parting ways, or if there are children involved. Contact our family law office at (727) 777-6903 to learn more about moving out of your marital home, and your rights as a homeowner, spouse, and parent when you do.