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Should you move out before finalizing the divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2023 | Family Law |

When marital differences culminate in a divorce, emotions can run high and affect the physical and mental well-being of everyone involved, and especially the children. Out of desperation, you might consider moving out of the marital home before the divorce is finalised. 

However, this is a significant decision; one that comes with serious personal and financial implications. Here are a couple of things you need to know about leaving the marital home before finalising the divorce. 

Your spouse cannot force you out

Unless there are claims of domestic violence, your spouse cannot lock you out of the marital home. And even where domestic violence is involved, they can only lock you out after obtaining a restraining order against you. However, if you have credible reasons to believe that your continued stay in the marital home is endangering your safety as well as that of your children, then you should consider leaving. 

Your share of the marital property will not be impacted

Leaving the marital home does not amount to forfeiting your share of the marital property. Under Georgia marital property laws, any property acquired while in the marriage belongs to both parties and is, thus, subject to the state’s equitable division laws. For this reason, leaving the marital home before the divorce is finalised will not affect the property division process. 

But it can impact your custody case

Whereas leaving the marital home will not impact the property division outcome, the same cannot be said of child custody. Leaving the child behind, especially minors, without a clear agreement on custody and visitation can cause problems in your custody case. This can give the court the impression that you do not need to be involved in the kids’ day-to-day well-being. Besides, leaving the kids in full custody of your spouse more or less amounts to conceding primary custody to them. This can work against you, especially if custody is contested. 

Living together with someone you no longer love, and probably trust, can be challenging and, at times, intolerable. However, the decision to leave the marital home is entirely yours to make. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while making this monumental decision.