Prescott Valley, AZ asked in Divorce, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Arizona

Q: If I leave the house with my kids will it cost me in the divorce?

Do I have to continue living in the house until the divorce is final? Will the Judge see it as abandoning?

1 Lawyer Answer

Mike Branum

Answered
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: In many cases it is actually advisable for one of the parties to leave the marital home during the divorce if the divorce is contentious. The children do not need to be exposed to the two of you fighting. The split is going to be hard enough on the children as it is; seeing their parents arguing or, heaven forbid, yelling at each other will only add to the trauma. Your duty is to protect your children and you also have an obligation to yourself to protect your own emotional and mental health. If the situation is toxic, get out. The Court will not perceive your move to another housing situation as abandonment and you do not waive your claim to any equity in community property. You must ensure that you are not interfering in you soon-to-be-ex's parental rights. You should not relocate to a distance that will make visitation difficult and certainly should not cross any state lines without an agreement in writing (text or email will suffice) from your spouse that shows you have permission to do so. I have had clients get in more trouble due to an unwillingness to move out of the marital home. If you have a suitable alternative for you and the children which will not affect your spouse's parenting time, I would encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. As an added benefit you will also likely be able to more clearly consider your options / settlement offers without the daily stress of sharing living space with someone who will soon be part of your past.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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