Can you or should you move out of the house? In almost every Michigan divorce, the Michigan divorce attorneys at Findling law address this simple question, can you (or should you) move out of the house? The answer to the question involves safety, children, timing and other considerations.
Sometimes the most valuable asset in a marriage is the equity in a home. Other times, the home is the largest debt. In either case, a home often carries with it an emotional attachment – the lawn you manicured, your neighbors, your children’s friends, your home is, well, your home. Our Michigan divorce attorneys are always considerate of the emotional component of a divorce. See: https://www.thedivorceguy.com/the-emotional-divorce/.
Notwithstanding the consideration regarding moving from your home below, it is always a good idea to talk directly with one of our Michigan divorce lawyers. We recognize that every situation is unique and the legal considerations may vary with the circumstances.
Safety: If your situation involves domestic violence or the safety of your children, get out of the house first, then call your lawyer second. The considerations in this post should never compromise your safety or the safety of your children.
Children: If child custody is at issue, you should not move from the home without first consulting your Michigan divorce lawyer as the decision to do so could have an impact on a child custody determination. In a contested child custody case, the first consideration is the existence of an established custodial environment (See: https://www.thedivorceguy.com/kids-custody-and-support/). In simple terms, if the child has been living with one parent for a while, that parent will have an established custodial environment with the child, and courts are reluctant to remove a child from an established custodial environment. Therefore, you should not move out of the house without a custody or parenting time agreement. Doing so may compromise a custody case.
Timing: Our divorce lawyers often advise our clients to make few major decisions during the divorce process. A divorce is often stressful and not the best time to make a major decision, such as the decision to move out from your home. Notwithstanding, it is likely that in most Michigan divorce cases, one or both parties will move from the home.
The timing of the move can have financial considerations. Renting or purchasing a home is expensive. If the mortgage or rent is currently being paid, remaining in the house as long as possible may be the most financially responsible decision.
- There is an old legal maxim among lawyers that possession is nine-tenths of the law. Relying on this notion, some people fear that if they move out from the house, they will lose an interest in the home. This is not true. Moving from a house does not have an impact on ownership interest.
- Moving from the home before dividing the household furniture, furnishings and appliances may provide an opportunity for the spouse remaining in the home to take advantage of the situation. We recommend making an inventory of the household contents before you move out. This can be as simple as a cell phone video walk through of the house.
We are here to help you navigate this journey by focusing on your goals. If you have any questions concerning any aspect of the law, let me know. My direct line is 248-399-3300 or toll free: 877-968-7347.
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By: Daniel Findling
The Divorce Guy, Michigan Divorce Attorneys and Specialists