Going through a divorce is life-changing. Divorcing couples have to decide on certain things, including whether or not one of them should move out of the marital residence. The choice can be heart-wrenching. After all, the marital home is usually their biggest asset, representing the time they’ve spent together as a couple.
Choosing to leave the marital home is not one that should be made lightly, since it can have drastic implications. Consult with a divorce attorney for more information before you take this step.
Does Moving Out Affect Divorce?
Yes. Here are some of the potential implications of moving out of the marital home:
1) Financial Considerations
Under Colorado law, the marital residence is no different than any other asset that the couple has. Even if one spouse decides to move out prior to or after filing a divorce case, they may still be entitled to the home or equity from the home.
Generally, the fact that a spouse decided to move out doesn’t necessarily mean that the other spouse is more likely to get the house during property division. A judge will still consider the following factors when determining an equitable division:
- The overall value of the property given to each spouse
- Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of the marital home, including any contributions made by a homemaker
- Each spouse’s current economic circumstances
- Changes in the value of each spouse’s separate property, and whether a decrease in value was due to marital purposes
2) Child Custody
When one spouse leaves the marital home, it can be disruptive to the regular routine of their minor children. Because of this, both parties have to create a new parenting plan to protect the best interests of their children. However, this parenting plan is often a contentious issue.
As long as the parties already agree on certain areas, such as where the children will primarily live or how often the other spouse can visit, a decision to leave the marital home will most likely not have a significant impact on custody and visitation. However, if there are disputes, the absent spouse may end up getting denied parenting time and getting into an expensive legal battle.
A good way to avoid this is to make sure that the new home of the spouse who moved out is still geographically close to the marital home. This will make it easier for them to exercise their parenting time. They should also make sure that the new home can accommodate the children during overnight visitation.
3) Child Abandonment
If a spouse has decided to move out of the marital while before or while the divorce case is in progress, they should take steps to make sure that their action won’t be depicted as abandonment later on. An accusation of abandonment can, after all, negatively impact their chances in child custody proceedings. Here are some ways to prevent this from happening:
- Continue supporting any minor children financially, even if there’s no court ruling requiring them to do so
- Get as much as parenting time as possible and make sure that they’re actively involved in the children’s daily lives
- Pay for any bills that are still in their name
From a legal perspective, it’s difficult to convince the court that a parent who moves out and doesn’t exercise any parenting time should not be given custody or visitation rights.
Can I Make My Spouse Move Out of the House in Colorado?
The short answer to this is: no. Usually only the court can legally require a spouse to move out of the marital home… but a spouse can be forced out via a Protection Order.
Can a Spouse Kick You Out of the House in Colorado?
Until the court issues an order regarding who can stay in the marital home, neither spouse has any legal right to force the other to leave. The only exception to this is a spouse can be forced out via a Protection Order.
Hire an Experienced Colorado Divorce Attorney Now
If you’re facing a divorce, it’s best to have a reliable divorce attorney by your side who can guide you through the complex process. They will help you make informed decisions and minimize adverse legal implications of moving out.
At Goldman Law, we understand that sometimes, difficult choices have to be made. We’ll help you get better insight into your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected. Call us at (303) 656-9529 or contact us through our online form to schedule a case assessment.