Should I Move Out of the Marital Home?

When people file for divorce, it’s not uncommon for them to wonder if moving out of the marital home would have any impact on their divorce proceedings. People commonly, and mistakenly believe that moving out of the marital home would affect their rights to their valuable asset, but that is not true.

California is a community property state; as long as the home was acquired during the course of the marriage, each spouse has a 50 percent interest in the home, regardless of who moves out during the divorce process.

If you decide to move out of the home, the move will have no bearing on your interest in the property. Each spouse has the equal right to buy out the other spouse’s share, and if they both decide to make that claim, the property can be sold and the proceeds of the sale divided among them.

When Child Custody is an Issue

If you have children and child custody is an issue, that’s a whole other story. Often, divorce attorneys will advise clients NOT to move out of the marital home while there is an ongoing child custody dispute. Why? Because, leaving would establish a new status quo, and create a “custodial” parent by default – the parent who stays in the family home.

This is something that can be overcome, but if custody is important to you, we recommend staying in the marital home until child custody is sorted out.

Keep in mind that the parent who leaves may be ordered to pay temporary child and spousal support, while at the same time having to pay for a second household, which can be costly.

If living under one roof is too difficult to bear, the best way to effectuate the move is to create an interim child custody schedule (before moving out) with the court that ensures leaving the marital home would not bar you from maintaining frequent access to your children. Do so would establish security for you and your children, and a precedent for ongoing custody.

If you want to know how moving out of the family home would affect your rights to child custody, we urge you to contact our Los Angeles divorce firm before you make a decision that could have adverse consequences.

Contact Claery & Hammond, LLPto schedule a free case evaluation.