Divorce: what husbands and fathers need to know before moving out of a shared home

We often discuss important matters related to the divorce process like child custody and the division of marital assets. Rarely discussed, however, are the immediate actions an individual should and should not take upon making the decision to divorce. Whether a divorce is precipitated by one major event or a slow demise over the course of several years, when a divorce is imminent it’s customary that spouses physically separate.

In many cases, it’s the man who chooses to vacate a family home or shared apartment. A father with good intentions may move out of the home he previously shared with his wife and three kids to spare his soon-to-be ex-wife the pain and hassle of doing so. In another example, upon learning his wife wants a divorce, a man with no children may decide it’s easiest if he moves out of the expensive apartment the two own. While, in some cases, a man’s decision to move out may make practical sense, doing so often has many negative and unforeseen consequences.

Desperate to retain primary custody of her children, the mother in the above-referenced example could argue her husband left and abandoned his family. She could also say her husband voluntarily chose to give up spending time with his children when he made the decision to move out of the family home. Likewise, the childless man’s wife could seek temporary spousal support to aid in making mortgage payments which a judge may decide should continue after a divorce is finalized.

Additionally, frequently men who move out of a marital home do so in haste. Many, therefore, forget to take or make copies of important documents. Often, once a man has moved out, it’s difficult to gain access to these documents, many of which could prove to be beneficial during divorce proceedings.

Whether sudden or a long time coming, once the decision to divorce has been made it’s natural that each spouse wants and needs his or her space. It’s important, however, that men and especially those who are fathers, understand the potential financial and child custody implications associated with moving out of a shared home.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Why Moving Out Is the Biggest Mistake in a Divorce,” Joseph E. Cordell, June 19, 2014

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