Should I Move out of the Family Home During a Divorce?

It depends. Here’s a look at what to consider when it’s time to decide whether to stay in or move out of the family home during a divorce.

Your (and Your Children’s) Safety
House Photo
An experienced Scottsdale divorce attorney points out what to consider when deciding whether to stay in or move out of a marital home in divorce. Contact us for the best divorce representation.

If there is a domestic violence situation or some other type of abuse that is compromising you and/or your children’s safety, then leaving the home (even if just for a short period of time) may be necessary. During this time, you can get a protective order against an alleged abuser, having him or her ordered to move out of the home, after which time you can move back in.

If abuse or domestic violence is not an issue, however, but living with an ex during a divorce will be uncomfortable (if not outright unhealthy for children), then it’s advisable to:

  • Carefully consider the potential custody and financial implications of moving out
  • Consider whether an alternative – like living in separate areas of the home – is appropriate/possible
  • Consult with an experienced divorce lawyer ASAP for specific advice pertaining to your situation.
Custody Arrangements

In some cases, it’s possible for the parent who remains in the home taking care of the children to have some priority in being awarded the home in the divorce. The argument can be that minimizing the potential disruptions to the children’s lives is in their best interests, and having the parent who is in the home now with them will be the best way to do this.

Here, however, it’s important to note that moving out would not preclude a parent from getting custody of a child. In fact, what would be the best idea would be to:

  • Try to work out a parenting time agreement before either parent moves out of the home.
  • Agree that neither parent gives up his or her rights to custody by moving out (if a parenting time agreement cannot be reached before a move out is necessary).
Financial Reasons

As you consider whether to stay in the marital home, another thing to consider will be whether you want the home after the divorce or whether it would be preferable to get other assets (such as bank accounts, etc.) instead. The fact of the matter is that, if you and your ex cannot agree on how to “divide” up the marital home, the court will:

  • Step in to resolve the dispute
  • Make a decision based on what is “equitable.”

So, give some thought as to what you may need to give up in order to keep the home (or vice versa – what you could gain if you may be willing to walk away from the home).

The Bottom Line: Talk to a Lawyer First

When it comes to staying versus moving out of the marital home during divorce, the bottom line is that you should talk to an experienced divorce lawyer before doing anything. An attorney can review your situation and advise you regarding your best options for proceeding.

Scottsdale Divorce Attorney at the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau

Are you ready to proceed with a divorce? If so, you can rely on Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen Schoenau for honest answers, effective representation and the best possible outcomes to your case. Since 1987, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people resolve their important family law matters, including complex divorce cases.

To learn more about how we can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau. You can set up this meeting by calling 480-209-1918 or by emailing us using the drop-down contact form at the top of this page.

From her offices based on Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including in Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.

Client Reviews
Karen is highly respected in the legal community. She is effective and thorough. Karen just keeps going regardless of the odds.
Karen was extremely helpful setting up my petition for conciliation. She is by far the most knowledgeable attorney regarding the necessary paperwork, how to file the petition and where it has to be submitted. She listened intently when I was describing my situation and intentions. She was very responsive to my questions and request. She is trustworthy and diligent . I would recommend her to anyone having marital issues. Mark
Very high customer/client considerate. We found Karen when we were forced to leave another Phoenix lawyer due to his bad advice and lack of interest to help us. We were in Phoenix for six days from Michigan with nothing happening but a high wasted expense. Karen and her firm took us in and solved our issue with the courts etc. in two and a half days. Karen’s professionalism with us was very cost effective/productive. If we would have found her first, we would have saved thousands of dollars. Her interest for us was very high. She returned every call. She knew every answer to our questions. She did this for us with a death in her family. She left for a funeral and made sure we were treated with the same professionalism from her firm to finish up. I recommend Karen and her firm with very high satisfaction. Our case is custody with one parent in prison. We will return to Phoenix someday with interests for the child and his parent, if needed. Karen will be our top choice. Nolan
Karen and Bonita are wonderful!! I know that the word "wonderful" is used a lot, but the team they make and the work they did for me can only be described as WONDERFUL!! Yes there where ups and downs in my case, but that is the system and Karen along with Bonita guided and taught me as "WE" went through it together. Karen’s easy going manner and her knowledge really helped me with the emotional part of my divorce. I used the team of Karen and Bonita both times I needed to go to court with my ex and had results that were best for my little girl. Some times I did not get what I wanted, but it was what my daughter needed. Looking back at my case, I made the right choice and would do it again in a heart beat!! Jim
Karen was extremely supportive during a very trying time in our lives. She helped me to put things in perspective and think positive when I was overwhelmed. She is very knowledgeable about the laws pertaining to grandparents rights and the rights of the parents and knew how to provide the appropriate laws pertaining to the situation we were in. I am so grateful for her expertise and guidance. She proved to be very aggressive when she needed to be but was also supportive to my and my children. I would recommend her to anyone in a similar situation. Deanna