If you have kids and have decided to get a divorce, you should not move out of your home until a court determines residence and establishes a temporary custody plan for your children.
Moving Out Establishes That You Don't Want To Live In Your Home
To start with, moving out will make it look like you don't want to live in your house and it can weaken your argument to be allowed to stay in your house and for your spouse to move out. When you move out, you establish your residence and take the courts out of the equation.
Moving Out Looks Bad To The Courts
Unless there is a domestic violence situation taking place, moving out of your home without your children looks bad to the courts. It shows the courts and the judge assigned to your case that you valued getting your own place and getting away from your spouse more than you valued the welfare of your children. It shows the courts that you value your space, and you are okay with being away from your children.
Moving Out Can Set A Precedent
Not only can moving out make it look like you value your welfare over your children's, it can also set a dangerous precedent. If you move out and leave your spouse with full or primary custody of your children and with the primary responsibility of taking care of them on a daily basis, you risk the court deciding that the best interest of your children would be to keep the arrangements as it is. Courts generally try to subject children to as little change as possible; if it looks like not seeing your children on a regular basis is the status quo, don't be shocked if that is what the court enforces.
Wait For The Court To Make A Decision
If you want to retain residence in the home you and your spouse currently share with your children, don't move out. Have your lawyer get you a court hearing where both sides can present their reasons for remaining in the home that you share. Show the courts that you have a vested interest in staying in the home that your children are familiar with. Even if the court ultimately decides that you need to move out, you will have shown the court that you want to stay.
Next, remaining in the house until your attorney gets you a hearing will give you more bargaining power to get the custody arrangement that you want. If you can show the courts that you currently live with your children and share the responsibility of taking care of them with your spouse, the court is much more likely to draft a custody arrangement that tries to keep both of you in your children's life as much as possible.
Don't make a rash decision in the heat of the moment and decide to move out when you and your spouse make the decision to get divorced. Hire an attorney and get a court hearing as quickly as possible to determine residency and custody. Staying in the home with your children until that point will establish that you don't want to leave and that you are active in your child's care; this will help your case for residency and custody.
For professional legal assistance, contact a lawyer such as A. Scott Kalkwarf.