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San Diego divorce: Should you stay in the marital home or go?

When a relationship ends, someone often packs a bag and heads for the door. It might seem like a good idea to get far away from a tense, emotional situation as quickly as possible but leaving may not be prudent during a San Diego divorce. Support, child custody and property division issues can be affected when one spouse stays while the other moves out.

A spouse may be asked to leave or want to go but cannot be forced to vacate as long as the home is jointly owned or rented. The spouse who heads out the door may not realize how the move can affect what a court thinks of him or her as a parent. A spouse left behind with children might claim abandonment.

A child care precedent is set by moving out. Suddenly, you switch from interacting with your children at any time to becoming the non-custodial parent with a schedule of informal or formal visitations. Leaving home automatically initiates a new parenting custody and support arrangement, which may be incorporated in a separation agreement or a permanent divorce settlement.

Perils also may be present by deciding not to leave. A spouse may insist upon your departure and could draw police into the matter. However, should child custody become an issue later on, a judge may view a parent who tried but failed to keep the family together more favorably than one who walked out.

Spouses without children also may suffer by leaving. The one who changes residences could be on the hook for supporting two homes, depending on the spouse's wage-earning status and history of paying marital bills. In addition, an ex who remains in the home may be eligible for spousal support.

Leaving after a break-up may feel like the right thing to do. Whether it's a wise move should be determined with the help of a family law attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Why Moving Out Is the Biggest Mistake in a Divorce" Joseph E. Cordell, Jun. 19, 2014

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