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Take a few steps before moving out during a divorce

Many, if not most, spouses who are divorcing would rather not live together. However, both may want to stay in the marital home, especially if there are children. If the tension gets so bad that you feel like you have no choice but to move out, protect yourself and your children by taking a few steps.

The first is to explain your situation to a lawyer and get his or her advice on how to proceed. Maybe there is a way for you to stay in the home after all despite the stressful situation. Beyond that, here is some general advice.

Take the children with you or set up firm parenting time with them

You may be able to take the children with you even if you move out. The idea of this does not go over well with many spouses, but in some situations, it is workable.

In the typical case of you moving out while the children stay in the marital home, you want to set up a prearranged, firm plan in which you will get to see your children. Preferably, you would get half of the time with them (or more!), and they would come to your new place for overnights. Doing this hopefully demonstrates to a judge that by moving out, you have not lessened your commitment to your children.

Make sure you can handle it financially

If you move out, you may still be responsible for helping pay for the marital home and expenses related to it in addition to your new place. This is especially true if your name is on leases or mortgages, if you have been the sole payer all along, if you contribute to expenses each month or if your spouse depends on you for income.

So, before you move out, take a serious look at your finances and determine how you and your spouse will pay for two households. For example, if you have been contributing equally up until now, can your spouse afford to start making full payments all of a sudden? Is he or she willing to? If your name is on a mortgage, it can be risky and potentially harmful for your credit history to leave and trust your spouse's word that he or she will continue payments.

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