Should I Leave the Marital Residence?


You’ll have to make many life changing choices when you go through a divorce. Among the many decisions you’ll consider is if you should move out of what the law considers the marital residence or home. This choice can may be emotionally wrenching and hard just to consider. Most probably, the marital home represents your greatest asset together as a couple. It may also represent a happier time, the years spent together before divorce proceedings began.

In some circumstances, deciding may be easy. If you were the subject of domestic violence or hostility, to take one case, then you may need to quit as soon as possible for your own health.

For most divorcing spouses, though, deciding to move out of the marital home is not one quickly made, as numerous issues exist which must be considered.

Child Custody

In every divorce, it is key to keep stability for the children. That means it is often preferable for the children’s primary caretaker to keep on living at home with them. If the children do continue in the marital home during the divorce process, however, many people will assume the parent living there may be granted an advantage when it comes to primary custody.

To prevent that circumstance from happening, it may be wise to stipulate in writing that the parent quitting the home is not relinquishing any legal rights by moving out. Creating a detailed parenting schedule before any parent moves out is a wise idea, and you should then enter that document with the court. If you and your partner cannot agree about sharing parental obligations after one of you has moved out, then you may ask the court to create a shared parenting schedule for you both to follow.

Although it may not be obvious, the party who moves out should seriously consider looking for another residence located near the marital home. Consulting with a family law practitioner can also help.


Another element to consider is are your monetary assets, your finances. Many families already suffer with keeping just one household. If you and your spouse will be maintaining two distinct households without supplemental income, note there will be less money available since you will have to fund two households with the same income. This may lead to difficulty with paying mortgage, credit card bills, student loans, and the like.

Financially speaking, it is generally smoother and less rocky on both parties to share the marital residence for as long as possible. You will get a better idea of your financial situation as your case progresses and you begin settlement negotiations, so choices relating to the marital home may be easier. For instance, it may become clearer that neither of you can afford to maintain your home, and that the best decision would be to sell it.