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Leaving Your Home During Divorce

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

Morris County NJ Divorce and Family Law FirmOne of our Morris County divorce clients’ most common concerns is what will happen if they leave the marital home during their divorce. Even in the most amicable of circumstances, it can be extremely hard for a couple undergoing a divorce to share a home, and the desire to leave that home and reduce the stress involved is entirely understandable.

However, there are a number of potential consequences that may result when you leave your home during your divorce.  While this article will discuss the concerns to consider when determining whether to leave your home during your divorce, as well as the potential options for mitigating these potential consequences, it is highly recommended that you speak with our experienced Morristown divorce lawyers in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment before actually leaving your home.  This will allow you to better understand your options, and cover your legal bases in order to protect your legal, financial and parental rights during the divorce process.

Denville, NJ Divorce Lawyers Discuss “Leaving Your Home during Divorce and Child Custody”

Perhaps the most important consequence that may occur when you leave the family home during a divorce is in relation to your final child custody agreement.  Leaving your home sets a precedent that your children are primarily cared for by your spouse, and courts often find it is in the children’s best interests to maintain stability and cause as little disruption to their lives as possible, meaning there is a greater chance the court may award primary physical custody of your children to your spouse.

However, if you instead request a temporary child custody decision before leaving the home, you can establish a parenting time schedule beforehand, one which more accurately reflects your parental rights and desire to spend as much time as possible with your children and which protects these same rights and desires when it comes time to finalizing your child custody and parenting time agreement.

Call our office today to discuss how our Denville divorce lawyers can help you secure a temporary child custody agreement during your divorce which can give you the confidence and security you need to leave your marital home.

Randolph, NJ Marital Asset Division Attorneys and “Equitable Distribution and Leaving the Family Home”

Unlike your divorce’s child custody agreement, leaving your marital home during the divorce will have no affect on your final division of assets agreement.

Equitable distribution laws are such that all marital property must be distributed in an “equitable” (meaning fair) manner, so leaving your home during divorce will not remove your right to an equitable division of this asset in any way.

However, there is of course the financial cost of maintaining two separate homes to consider, and whether or not you will be paying for your new residence with “marital money” or “individual money.” The money that you spend on renting or purchasing a new home may need to be “paid back” if that money was taken from a joint account, but much of this depends upon the unique circumstances of your marriage and your divorce.

For a better understanding of how the expense of two homes may affect your division of asset agreement, speak with our Randolph marital asset division attorneys in a comprehensive and confidential consultation.

Domestic Violence and Leaving the Family Home During a Morris County Divorce

So while you will ideally speak with an attorney before actually leaving your home during a divorce, if you have any reason to feel threatened, or have actually been abused by your spouse, it is important that you extract yourself from that situation as quickly as possible, and then take legal action afterwards.

In the case of domestic violence or abuse, the abused party can file a domestic violence complaint and seek a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).  This is a legal order which can be fairly easily obtained with allegations of violence or abuse alone. Many times, a TRO will include language requiring your alleged abuser to leave the family home until the Final Restraining Order hearing, even if that home is solely in their name (if a TRO calls for such an action, the police will help you vacate your abuser from the premises).

However, if you leave your home due to any kind of domestic violence or abuse, but then later take no legal action, you can be adversely affected in the ways we have already outlined in the sections above. Even more importantly, if you take your children with you but then take no legal action, you may risk your spouse alleging and reporting that you have kidnapped the children!

The bottom line is, in situations involving domestic violence or abuse, your first priority is to protect your safety and the safety of your children. However, once you are safe, it is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced Morris County family law and domestic violence attorney in order to take the legal actions necessary to protect your parental and legal rights moving forward, and more importantly your safety and the safety of your children.

Contact Our Morris County Divorce and Family Law Firm Today

At Jacobs Berger, our divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience successfully and effectively resolving the many diverse issues our clients face in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Madison, Randolph, Denville, Florham Park, Hanover, Tewksbury and Morristown.

The unique approach of our firm focuses on finding creative and constructive solutions to your divorce and family law concerns, allowing you to build the foundation for a successful future while still protecting all that you have already worked to achieve.

To speak with our attorney team today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your divorce, how we can help you to safely leave your home during your divorce, or any other family law issue such as a post-divorce modification or issues regarding domestic violence and restraining orders, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.