When a couple decides to end their marriage, typically what happens is the spouses change their living arrangements. This could mean one spouse moves out, or the couple decides to sell or rent out their home and they both move out. When children are not involved, the living situation is straightforward. A spouse’s choice to move out of the marital residence won’t usually affect the outcome of the divorce.
What if the couple has children under the age of 18? Children definitely add an element of complexity to the situation. If child custody is not and will not be an issue, then a parent moving may not pose any problems later down the road. On the other hand, if child custody is going to be a contentious issue, the parents need to think long and hard before one of them decides to move out of the family home, leaving the children with the other parent.
Courts Prefer to Maintain the ‘Status Quo’
“After discovering her affair, I can’t stand to be under the same roof as my wife.” We hear this type of statement often. Once a couple decides to seek a divorce, it can be very difficult for them to continue living together, especially when emotions are raw over some type of betrayal. If you plan on moving out and leaving your children behind, please be aware that this action can certainly affect child custody in the future.
If you wish to seek sole physical custody or if you want to be the custodial parent who receives child support from the other parent, we do not recommend moving out of the marital residence until after you go to court and obtain temporary child custody orders.
If you move out before getting a temporary child custody order, you’re sending a strong message to the court that your spouse is perfectly capable of caring for your children most of the time. If you want to fight for custody, leaving your children with the other parent will make it far more difficult. Also, family courts do not like to interrupt the status quo, so if an existing child custody arrangement is working just fine, the court will likely be hesitant to make a significant change and have the children move in with you.
In a divorce, the living situation can be confusing and frustrating for parents. Our advice is to not change anything until you seek the advice of a Las Vegas child custody lawyer from our firm. If child abuse is an issue, please do not leave your children alone with your spouse under any circumstances. Instead, contact us immediately to learn how to protect your parental rights during the divorce process.