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Will it hurt my custody case if I move out without the kids?

January 2, 2017 Blog

Leaving an unpleasant or even dangerous situation without your kids may affect your ability to regain custody at a later date. Unfortunately, this sends a message to the court that the other parent is more suitable to keep physical custody of the kids.

Further hampering your ability to get your children at a later date is how the judge may view the importance of stability in the children’s lives. Keeping them in a home where they lived as a family with their parents, continuing to attend the same school and conveniently participating in regular activities are all important considerations to avoid disrupting routines during this difficult time.

If the circumstances become unbearable and you have to leave the familial home, it is best to do so with your children. Soon after moving, you should also file a temporary custody and child support order in family court. Delaying the process gives your spouse a chance to file first and allege that you took the children without his or her knowledge or consent.

In nearly every case, this would further hamper your ability to win a custody case as family law judges tend to frown upon a parent removing children from the home without receiving recognition from the court to do so. The judge may order that you return the children to the family home until future proceedings to determine physical custody takes place.

Getting a Temporary Order in Family Court

Waiting months – or years in some cases – for the court to decide who gets to keep the kids, the house and money in bank accounts is not always feasible when you want out of a marriage. The easiest way to get a quick decision from the judge is with a temporary order.

When you decide to separate from your spouse, these important decisions can be quickly resolved on a temporary basis during a short hearing before a judge.

Purpose of Getting a Temporary Order

The end of your marriage does not mean that your and your children’s basic necessities of life ceases to be a priority. Even if your spouse moves out first, you will still need food and shelter for your children. Before the full trial starts, you can get help through a judge’s ruling on a temporary order until a formal divorce action is filed and resolved. Typically, a hearing is scheduled within a few days or weeks.

The court can temporarily grant one or all of the following in the order:

• Child custody and visiting arrangements
• Spousal support and/or child support
• Possession of the family home and/or car to you or your spouse
• Prevent you or your spouse from selling valuable assets
• Restrain your spouse from contacting you or coming near you

The length of the temporary order is usually valid until there is another hearing or when you and your spouse come to an amicable settlement on the terms of the divorce.

Asking for a Temporary Order

A favorable time to request a temporary order depends on individual circumstances. Typically, you have at least two options if you or your spouse decide to move out of the family home.

First, you can reach a collective agreement about how expenses will be shared. When you and your spouse can agree on child custody and support, you can write the temporary agreement and continue with resolving other issues in the divorce.

If you and your spouse are not able to agree, you can go to the court and ask a judge to make decisions about where the children should live, which parent lives with the children and which parent will make support payments. Having custody granted to you without leaving the kids is essential to establishing how the final divorce decree is resolved.

Requesting the temporary order ensures you are awarded the right amount of child support. Additionally, the court acknowledges that you still live with the children. You may automatically receive physical custody. This will also prove that you did not kidnap your children just in case your spouse tries to make that claim against you.



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