January 19, 2016

Division of Property: Ramifications of Moving out of the Family Home during Divorce

Division of Property, Divorce Finances

When you are going through a divorce or approaching the beginning of marital dissolution, the separation of family items and assets can be both one of the most emotionally difficult and legally contentious part of the process. The family home – usually part of the division of property negotiations – is one of the most important assets that the divorcing couple will have to separate, and one of the most complicated.

If the home was bought after the couple was married and both couples contributed to the buying and maintenance of the home, the home will be considered marital property and subject to equal property division laws. If, however, one member of the couple moves out of the family home before the divorce proceedings begin — or had moved out in the time leading up to the divorce, perhaps before the decision was officially made to legally file — it can lead to challenges for the person that moved out to obtain his or her fair share of this asset.

This can be particularly the case for men. If a man moves out of the marital home before the divorce is official, his soon-to-be ex-wife can label this as family abandonment — even if he was not the one who initially wanted divorce. The day that a person moves out of the family home, especially when there are children present, the other spouse can use this against him in a court of law. The contending attorney may argue that a person moving out of the family home, even if it was not his idea, that this demonstrates that the person does not have intention of keeping up with family routine, and may not be fit for legal guardianship or custody.

This can be a tricky situation to navigate, especially if the divorce is particularly contentious. A spouse may argue that it would be better for the children if the spouse moved out, so they were protected from vicious arguments.

On the other hand, moving out of the marital home and taking advantage of the emotional and physical space that separation can provide can do wonders for the dissolution and divorce process. Knowing what type of precaution you can take to ensure that your moving out does not point to family abandonment can be determined with the assistance of a qualified legal professional. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce, do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today.