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Do I have to wait until after the divorce to move out of the house?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2022 | Divorce

You’ve got a lot to consider as you prepare to head into divorce. Although there are long-term implications to think through, such as child custody arrangements, property division, and spousal support, you may be struggling with more immediate logistical concerns. This includes deciding whether to move out of the marital home.

Are you allowed to move out of the marital home?

There’s nothing under Virginia law that prevents you from moving out of the marital home while your divorce is pending. A lot of people worry that leaving the home will impact their ability to argue for the residence during the property division process or secure proceeds from a sale of the home if that becomes part of the divorce settlement. This isn’t the case, though. You still retain your interest in the marital home even if you decide to move out.

That said, you may lose some interest in the home if you move out and no longer contribute to mortgage payments. This may or may not be a big deal to you, as much of your monthly mortgage payment may be going towards interest anyway.

So, when should you move out of the marital home?

There are definitely some strong justifications for moving out of the family home. They include the following:

  • You’re being subjected to physical or emotional abuse: If you’re in an abusive relationship, then you need to find a way to safely get out of the residence. To do so, you may have to develop a sound plan to ensure that you can not only leave but also do so with the resources that you need.
  • You have another place lined up: If you already have another place to live, then it might make sense to go ahead and leave the marital home. Just make sure that you have your living arrangements finalized before you break the news to your spouse that you’re moving out.
  • You can’t stand your spouse: Some marriages deteriorate to the point that the spouses can’t stand to be around each other, and the more time they spend together the greater the risk that they’ll be in a heated dispute. If you’re in this situation, then it may be easier for you to just leave rather than walk on eggshells all the time.

There may be other reasons to choose to leave the family home. It really depends on the circumstances of your case and what you hope to get out of your current situation.

However, sometimes it’s easier for the other spouse to leave. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may make more sense for your spouse to move out. For example, if your spouse got a new job, has a new love interest, or has already started looking for a place to live, then it’s probably best to let him or her leave while you stay in the marital home.

Why you should consult with an attorney first

Although you’re free to move out of the marital home, you should consider seeking legal counsel before doing so. After all, there are potential implications that you’ll want to take into account, including how moving out of the home may impact any temporary custody orders that may be in existence. You also don’t want to be found at fault for deserting the marriage. By talking to a legal professional, though, you can minimize the risks associated with moving out of the family home.

The good news is that skilled family law professionals like those on our team know how to navigate these delicate matters. Therefore, if you’d like to learn more about what you can do to successfully address the issues that you’re facing, then now may be the time to reach out for assistance.