During separation and divorce proceedings, both spouses will likely be advised by their lawyers to communicate about their marital issues through legal representatives. This is especially true when the divorce is acrimonious and the spouses are unable to have meaningful or amicable discussions. The attorneys are then able to exchange relevant information as needed to keep both parties informed of important tasks and dates so that everything proceeds smoothly.
However, some spouses continue to share updates with each other about household possessions or minor children until the divorce is finalized, or even afterward. If this arrangement turns sour, or if communication becomes strained, then valuable information may get lost, leaving either party exposed to the possibility of exclusion or behind the scenes arrangements, or at risk of being charged with negligence, which can lead to court rulings in the other party’s favor.
In some cases, a spouse or ex-spouse with shared custody may be required to inform his or her attorney and perhaps file a court notification about a change of address. Moving out of the state may not be permitted, or it may require legal authorization. The divorce attorney can explain relevant points about moving and filing a change of address with the spouse or ex-spouse, the attorney, and the court.
Failure to notify legal representatives or the spouse or ex-spouse could complicate the divorce or child custody outcomes. If the court believes that one of the ex-spouses is not following court orders or attempting to avoid communication with the other parent, consequences may be issues that could favor the other parent. Even if the relocating spouse claims that the other spouse could not be located and be informed, this may be difficult to prove, and it may be interpreted adversely.
If you are on good terms and can communicate openly with your ex or soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is important to make a good faith effort to let him or her know if you plan to move, before you actually move. Likewise, your divorce lawyer should be informed so that any limitations on your moving plans can be explained to help you avoid inadvertently breaking the law. Your attorney can then register the move officially with the court, if required, and help you to be granted authorization. If obstacles are in place to prevent your moving, the attorney can also explain if and how those barriers might be dealt with.
When planning to move, it is important to file a change of address with the post office as well as all creditors and utility companies, or other sources of routine mail. If you haven’t already, you should check with your attorney about how to separate utility bills, credit payments, and other expenses that may be part of the separation or divorce proceedings. The change of address can then be made on behalf of one spouse, with or without minor children, depending on the custody arrangement. Failure to separate mailed bills and notices according to the separation or divorce agreement could result in the ex-spouse being late on payments, paying late fees, or having his or her credit score lowered. The court expects both parties to resolve financial matters in a fair manner with the help of attorneys so that neither spouse gets stuck with expenses that he or she is not responsible for and not be unduly penalized.
Working with your attorney to keep your ex updated about important changes like moving to a new location will not only facilitate the separation and divorce outcomes, but also help to keep your position in good standing in the eyes of the court.