If you have decided to get divorced, you may feel in a hurry to get out of the home and find somewhere else to live as soon as possible. That feeling is understandable, but before you start packing your bags, you should consider how your move can affect your divorce. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most important factors to consider before moving out.
Safety is your top priority. If you and/or your children are in danger if you stay, you should get help and leave. Worry about the divorce later.
If you and your spouse have children, one of the most important factors to consider is whether you will take your child with you when you leave.
Whether the child comes with you or not, both you and your spouse have parental rights and responsibilities. This means that you may have to agree with your spouse about who will have custody of the child and when. If you can’t agree, the court will decide for you.
The home, spousal maintenance and child support
In all likelihood, you and your spouse will divide the home as part of your divorce settlement. Sooner or later this means you will choose one of three options: One of you will keep the home as sole owner; you and your spouse will remain as co-owners; or you will sell the home and divide the profit according to the terms of your divorce.
Leaving the home before your divorce doesn’t necessarily change these options in the long term, but it can have some effects on the short term. For instance, if you make significantly more money than your spouse, you may have to continue paying at least a portion of the bills for the home, including the mortgage and utilities. Courts sometimes order these “temporary maintenance” payments while the divorce is in progress. Temporary maintenance is calculated separately from any alimony order that goes into effect after the divorce is final.
A court may also order you to pay child support if you are no longer living with your child.
Your home may or may not be the most valuable single asset you own, but it isn’t the only thing you’ll have to divide in your divorce. You will have to divide all your marital property in a way that meets guidelines of fairness under Minnesota law. For the most part, this means everything you acquired during the marriage.
With that in mind, there are a couple of important facts to remember. First, if you take an item with you when you move out, remember that it may be subject to property division later. Second, remember that you may need access to important documents in the home in order to divide your property.