The short answer is yes, but you should make the decision to leave home carefully and after consultation with a lawyer, if possible. Most people think that if you move out, the judge will probably want to keep things status quo, especially if the arrangement is working for the children still at home with your spouse. And if the status quo is that your soon-to-be-ex stays behind with the kids and they are stable, will moving out have harmed your rights to custody or visitation?
This decision is driven largely by the intricacies of your family’s characteristics and those of the individuals who make up that family unit. Ask yourself if it would be good for you and if it would be in the best interests of your children, who may stay behind or come with you.
Some of the factors that influence this decision whether to move out may include:
- Can available money and assets support two homes, and will your spouse cooperate?
- Is the other spouse verbally, physically or emotionally abusive of you or the children?
- Does your spouse have a problem with addiction or mental health that is detrimental to the rest of you?
- Is it too difficult emotionally to remain in the same house with your spouse given the relationship’s breakdown?
- If you and your spouse argue regularly, would it be better for you and/or the children to move and eliminate the difficult atmosphere that conflict brings?
- And others
If money needs to be redistributed to make ends meet after you move out, you (or your spouse) can ask the state court as part of your divorce (and possibly even if you have moved and not filed for divorce yet) for a temporary order for alimony and/or child support to get everyone through the divorce process to a final order that lays out permanent arrangements. If domestic violence threatens your safety or that of your kids, you can seek emergency help through the court to help you create and maintain a safe spot. the relief may include a no-contact order and/or an order for financial support.
The importance of legal advocacy
So, it may be that issues of finances, peace of mind or safety push you toward moving out. To respond to the opening question, yes, it is possible that the arrangement temporarily created to get through the divorce process could influence the judge’s decisions in your divorce if the two of you cannot agree on a settlement. And while if your spouse has been with the kids at home and it is going well, the judge could consider if this would be in the children’s best interest going forward. On the other hand, the situation there may not be ideal, and the judge could decide that living with you is more in their best interests. An experienced family lawyer can bring evidence to light in court about what living arrangements you consider to be in their best interests.
Finally, it is not likely that your leaving home will significantly impact your financial or possessory interests in it. It is relevant whose names are on the title, but even if yours is not, you likely have rights if marital funds earned during the marriage were used to maintain or remodel it, or to pay the mortgage or the taxes on it.
Seek out a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible for guidance, information and representation.