04 Sep 16

What can I take if I move out before our divorce is finalized?

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The #1 reaction most people when they are going through a divorce, is to leave the home they are sharing with their ex. It’s tempting to leave everything – but you have to be smart. You are convinced that moving out will make life easier, and that it will make your divorce easier. However, before you do that – think of the ramifications. It’s a good idea to speak to a divorce lawyer first.

In most cases, leaving the home early can hurt your case. There are several things to consider, before you pack up and move out. If you leave, you have financial issues – and custody issues to face. The marital home is your biggest asset. As long as the home was purchased while you were married, it’s part of your marital estate. Even if you leave it, you’ll still get your piece of it at the end. This may make you feel safe leaving it – but if your name is on the deed or the mortgage – you don’t need to leave. Moving out prematuraly can lead to financial complications. If you are the primary earner for the home, then it may be a bad idea to leave. If you leave, you’re still responsible for paying for the mortgage, and other such things. If you leave, the court can order a status quo order – which requires you to continue paying the marital bills as you did before the divorce. This means if you move out, you may have 2 sets of bills to pay now. On top of legal fees, this can be a devastating financial problem. It’s unavoidable, so it’s better to stay in the home while the divorce is going on.

Additionally, problems can be compounded when children are in the picture. If you’re living in the same home, and have daily interactions with your kids – when you move away, all of that disappears. You have less time to spend with the kids. It’s important before you leave with your belongings, you consult with an NYC divorce lawyer and get an understanding in place. Without an official schedule in place, you could wind up being not being able to see your kids ever.


If you don’t have a schedule that evenly splits your time with your children – it can result in future business problems. You may have to engage the legal system in order to get your kids back. In addition, you’ll be denied parenting time. You may even end up paying child support – because your spouse will say the kids stay with him/her – not you.


If you insist on leaving – here are the things you can take away from your marital home. Anything that would be deemed as exclusively yours; or anything paid for by exclusively your income – can be considered your property. For example, if you paid for your car using your own income – it could be considered your property – you can take it. But if your spouse paid for the item, you cannot take it without the spouses permission.

At the end of the day, you should only take what you rightfully need, and rightfully own. If it’s something which could be considered mutual property of you, and your spouse – you should leave it. For example, jewelry your spouse bought you should considered mutual property. You shouldn’t clean out the safe.


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