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Should I Move Out Of My Home?

A family’s home is often the most difficult asset to address during divorce proceedings because of the value that it holds to each family member. However, if you are dealing with separation or divorce, you must be careful about your activities with respect to your home to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.

Safety Comes First

If you are dealing with any potential domestic violence issues, your first concern should be for your safety and the safety of your child (if applicable). However, it is a good idea to seek a protective order from the court, to protect both yourself and your child, particularly if you and your partner have not initiated child custody proceedings first. In these situations, consulting an experienced attorney is always a good idea so that you have assistance properly protecting yourself and your rights, particularly when it comes to child custody and any property such as the family home.

Be Careful Re: Child Custody and Support

In general, the law seeks to maintain status quo for any children involved in a separation/divorce (in their best interests). Thus, leaving the other parent with the children at the family residence and creating distance in order to reduce conflict could be used against you at some point. It is advisable that, if you absolutely need to leave the family residence, you first come up with a shared parenting plan with your partner. If you cannot amicably agree to a plan, the court should be petitioned to establish a parenting plan so that you do not deal with both child custody and/or property issues later on simply for leaving the family residence. You do not want your good will to be used against you when pursuing child custody.

Responsibilities and Alternative Arrangements

In general, until a court has divided up marital assets and debt, simply moving out of the family residence does not absolve either person from paying mortgage, child support, bills, etc.

Your attorneys can assist you with potential alternative arrangements until the courts have finalized the details. For example, some couples decide to alternate living in the home, rotating between staying in the house (with the children, etc.) and staying in an apartment or with family members.

Know Your Rights

If you do end up leaving the family residence, know that your partner cannot legally change the locks/keep you out unless they have been granted exclusive use and possession by the court. But also keep in mind that, while it is generally good if both you and your partner are listed on the deed, you do not want to make it easier for a judge to decide that it would be more convenient for your partner to keep the home (given that you already moved out).

Contact Us for Advice

If you are facing any issues related to family law—divorce, relocation, child custody, spousal support, etc.—and you live in Fort Lauderdale or Boca Raton, contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services. Simply knowing that you do not have to go through this difficult process alone can provide you with some peace of mind.

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