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What can I take if I move out before our divorce is finalized?5 Nov 2016

The day you exchanged vows with your spouse you were ecstatic. You had dreams of a bright future filled with financial security, a dream home, travel, and maybe even a few kids. You never imagined you’d find yourself in the middle of a divorce. Your happily ever after didn’t work out for you, but that’s not something you ever saw coming. It happens to many couples, and it’s not uncommon to wonder what you can do now that you’re in the middle of a divorce. A divorce attorney can help you answer your most pressing questions. The one question many parties have in the middle of their divorce proceedings is what they can take when they move out if the divorce is not yet finalized.

Do not move out of your home before your divorce is finalized. Legally speaking, it is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Even if your divorce is amicable and you can’t be together anymore, leaving is one of the most legally damaging decisions you can make in the middle of a divorce. The reason is simple. The person who leaves, even if it’s because they’re shocked by the news that their spouse wants a divorce, is legally considered abandoning the family. If you leave the home and your divorce proceedings don’t go as planned, your spouse can choose to play dirty. This means she could accuse you of abandoning her and the kids. She’s more likely to get the house, the kids, and more if it’s determined you voluntarily left the home and family of your own accord.

Take Nothing

You’re just wondering what you can take with you when you leave the house before your divorce is final. Your thought process is whether or not you can have the couch or the big screen television without getting yourself into any legal trouble. It’s not an uncommon question, but the bigger picture is you can’t take anything because you can’t go anywhere.

Possession of the Home and Trust

If you choose to voluntarily leave your home for no other reason than to do the right thing, you risk losing the house. Your spouse is able to file paperwork asking for temporary possession of the home. This means you’re unable go into the home for anything before the divorce is finalized.

If you leave the home on a voluntary basis, your spouse is left alone with your belongings. While everyone would like to think their spouse is trustworthy with their belongings, divorce brings about an ugly side to many people. Leaving your spouse alone with your belongings is a good way to find out he or she destroyed them, sold them, or got rid of them just to spite you.

Financial Harm in Leaving

Leaving your house before the divorce is finalized means financial repercussions occur. You might rent an apartment or find a hotel for the time being, but now you’re legally responsible to pay half the expenses of the house if your spouse asks the court to make it happen. Now you’re paying for two places to live, two sets of expenses, and you’re not living in the home you love. If your spouse asks a judge to make you liable for child support since you’re not living with the family, that’s another problem. In some states, your spouse has every right to ask a judge for spousal support if you leave the house before the divorce is finalized.

Take nothing when you leave your home, and stay put. Your best bet financially and legally is to stay in the marital home while your divorce is ongoing. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t lose your home to a technicality or loophole in the law. Try to keep the animosity between you and your spouse to a minimum if you have kids. The last thing you want to do is cause friction with them, with their other parent, and in their home. Do your best to live together amicably for the time being. It’s your best legal option.

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