Can I Move Out Of My House Before Divorce?

Arizona Divorce Attorneys Discuss If Moving Out During a Divorce Is a Good Idea

Our Arizona Divorce Attorneys discuss how to handle moving out of a house or an apartment when going through a divorce. There are things that you should do and definitely things that you shouldn’t. Read on to get advice regarding moving out during a divorce in Arizona.

When you’re going through a divorce, your gut instinct is likely to move out of the home you shared with your spouse. Conflict is probably high, and it may seem that naturally the conflict will be diffused if you live separate from your spouse. That doesn’t mean you should automatically pack your bags and find a new place when you and your spouse divorce, regardless of whose decision it is to end the marriage.

Married Couple Considering A Divorce In Mesa, AZ

Moving Out Doesn’t Eliminate Your Obligation To Pay Household Expenses For Your Marital Home

A major hurdle to moving out before your divorce is finalized is the added expense of a second household. If you are the primary earner in your household and typically pay the mortgage and utility bills, moving out likely won’t take away your obligation to continue paying these expenses. Your spouse can petition the court for temporary orders so that you have to continue paying to maintain the home. This is more likely to be granted when your spouse isn’t employed outside of the home or makes far less than you do. Paying all of the expenses for two residences may be simply infeasible depending on your financial situation. Likewise, you aren’t cleared of any additional debts associated with your home. The court may issue temporary orders to maintain the status quo during your divorce, but these issues will be addressed in further detail during property division.

Problems You May Encounter If You Move Out During a Divorce

Whether you’ve been the one planning your escape, or your spouse blindsides you with the news of divorce, many of our clients have already hastily moved out of the marital home before coming to us. They may accidentally leave behind treasured possessions which then mysteriously are damaged or go missing. If you do choose to move out of your marital home, make sure to make copies of all important documents to take with you. If you have minor children, you should arrange some type of informal parenting schedule so you can continue contact with them until there are permanent child custody orders.

Should I Move Out Before The Marriage Is Finalized?

If your safety or mental health is in jeopardy from remaining in the marital home with your soon-to-be-ex spouse, moving may be the best decision in your situation. If you can afford it, the improvement in your living situation could be priceless. Even if you can comfortably afford paying for both households, you should still consult with an experienced AZ Divorce Attorney before making your decision.

Why You May Not Want To Move Out before The Divorce Is Finalized

Many people want to move out before divorce because they can’t deal with the arguments and inevitable awkwardness that come with a pending divorce. Living separately doesn’t necessarily mean you will eliminate drama. There are plenty of ways your spouse can stir up drama without you in the home. Social media has grown to allow your spouse to reveal intimate secrets and spread false rumors with the push of a button. Your spouse may make it more difficult for you to see your children during the divorce, an issue on which you should always keep your attorney informed. Parental alienation and harassment are serious issues which can be issued while a divorce is pending. You can’t assume your divorce will be drama-free if you move out of the home- your toxic spouse will be toxic regardless of your physical presence in the home.

Man Moving Out Of The Marital House Before A Divorce In Arizona

Let your attorney know if you are moving out of your marital home because you are afraid of your spouse. While neither spouse is typically obligated to leave the marital home during a divorce, the spouse who is violent should leave when domestic violence is involved. You can consider getting a restraining order with your divorce attorney. You should also document your more explosive interactions with your spouse, writing down your recollections or recording, if possible. Make sure your family and loved ones are aware of the situation so they can check in with you, and possibly provide you with a place to stay.

What If My Spouse Tries To Kick Me Out? 

A big factor here will be whether your name is on the mortgage or lease. Your spouse can’t legally kick you out of your home if you are included in either of these legal agreements. While it may be an uncomfortable living situation, you have just as much right to the home as your spouse does in these circumstances.

Additionally, moving out can be financially restraining, and you don’t have an obligation to do so. Even if you or your spouse isn’t included on the lease or mortgage. Plus, Arizona is a community property state. Therefore, those mortgage or rental payments were probably made with community funds, so no one can usually be forced to move until at least the property division portion of the divorce is complete. Even if one spouse is living in the other spouse’s entirely separate property, they have likely gained rights as a tenant and can’t be forced to immediately move.

Is Moving Out Of My House During a Divorce a Mistake?

It is a commonly held belief that if you move out of the marital home during a divorce, you are abandoning your claim to it. This belief is a common misconception, as moving out of the marital home doesn’t abandon your claim to community property. However, it may be preferable for any minor children to remain in the marital home during the divorce to retain a sense of normalcy. If you can resist the urge to fight with your spouse, including all attempts by your spouse to purposely aggravate the situation, remaining in the home will grant you more access to your children than moving out.

Get Advice From An Experienced Family Law Attorney In Arizona

A similar belief is that it will also hurt that spouse’s chances in a custody dispute, if minor children are involved. It may be better for your children not to witness constant bickering between you and your spouse while you are getting divorced. Your spouse may want to use this to show that it isn’t crucial for you to be a daily part of your children’s lives. You should call your children as much as possible during this separation period, and remain involved in as many of your children’s school and extracurricular activities as possible. You should be sure to voice your reasoning behind moving out- to avoid subjecting the children to fighting- if your spouse brings it up in future custody proceedings.

Get Advice From An Experienced Family Law Attorney In Arizona

Before deciding whether or not to move out of your marital home during a divorce, you should get the advice of someone knowledgeable with every aspect of Arizona family law. You are less likely to regret your decision to stay or move out if you made it fully informed. But the prospect of paying for an attorney, on top of all the other expenses you’re about to incur from your divorce, may seem unrealistic.

However, at AZ Family Law Lawyers, we know just how tight your budget can be during a divorce, despite a lifetime of hard work and careful planning. We offer free consultations, so you can learn more about whether or not you should move out during your divorce with no risk or obligation. If you do retain our services, our attorneys offer affordable rates and payment plan options. Before moving out of your marital home, call (480) 263-1699 to schedule your free consultation. Our Arizona Family Lawyers look forward to assisting you.



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Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: (480) 448-9800

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