Decided to divorce? Don’t be so quick to move out

When you get married and move into that big new place, you may think you’re going to be there forever. But what happens down the road when you and your spouse start fighting, drifting apart and contemplating divorce? For men, the decision to get a divorce often comes with the urge (or the spousal mandate) to pack up and move out. After all, it’s hard to share a space with your soon-to-be ex while going through a tumultuous divorce.

Unfortunately, moving out can be a tactical mistake that could seriously hurt your divorce settlement and child custody agreement. This was the warning given to men in a recent article by an attorney named Joseph E. Cordell. He goes so far as to call it the No. 1 stupidest mistake men make when facing divorce.

Even when a man leaves because his wife asked him to, his wife’s attorney may tell a different story later on in court. The simple act of moving out could be spun into a narrative of a man abandoning his family. This, in turn, may hurt his child custody case.

Moving out during divorce also has financial repercussions. It is more expensive to get another place on top of making rent or mortgage payments on the marital residence. In some cases, if the dual-residence situation has lasted for months, a judge might consider it to be the status quo. As such, a man who earns more than his wife may be ordered to keep paying expenses for both residences throughout the divorce. It could also impact an alimony order once the divorce has been finalized.

Of course, not all divorces are this acrimonious. Some couples remain amicable and choose to stay under the same roof until more permanent arrangements are made. The important thing to keep in mind is that if your name is on the lease or mortgage, you have no obligation to move out. Doing so could make it a lot harder to eventually get back in.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Why Moving Out Is the Biggest Mistake in a Divorce,” Joseph E. Cordell, June 19, 2014

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