December 4, 2019

Moving out and Michigan divorce law

Sometimes “forever or worse” becomes “get out of the house”. Other times you want to move out of the house?   

Why move out?

When staying together is not an absolute must, you might consider moving out of the house. There are many reasons why you may want to move out of the house.

Moving with kids.

When kids are involved, the decision to move is more complex. In this video, we examine the reasons you may want to move out of the house with and without kids.

Things to consider

There may be strategic, safety, financial and custody considerations to think about before moving out of the house.

You worked hard on making your home – your home. You manicured the lawn, love your neighbors and are close to your children’s friends. However, the decision to move out of your house should not be made without careful consideration in a Michigan divorce.

Srategic considerations.

A new divorce case is filed in the county either party has resides for at least 10 days prior to filing the divorce. If the judges in your county do not support your goals, delaying filing and moving to another county may aid you in achieving your goals.

Safety considerations.

Circumstances may be so toxic at home that you may feel you have no other choice but to move out of your house. Certainly your safety and the safety of your children are paramount. However, it may make more sense for you to stay in the home and request exclusive access, forbidding your spouse from remaining in the home during the divorce. If circumstances are really bad, we can help you obtain a Personal Protection Order against your spouse to stop him/her from threatening, hurting, harassing or stalking you. A Personal Protection Order often includes an order for exclusive access.

Financial considerations.

There is often a financial cost to moving out. Especially if resources are limited and the cost of maintaining two homes is high. Sometimes the most valuable asset in a marriage is the home equity and its contents. Other times, the home is the largest debt. I often counsel clients not to make any major financial decisions in the middle of a divorce. After all, you may not have a complete understanding of your cash flow before the divorce is close to being finalized.

Considerations of alimonyproperty division and apportionment of debt should be examined before making a major financial decision. The financial cost of maintaining two homes is an important consideration to be evaluated prior to deciding to move out of your house. During the course of discovery, we will help you understand the nature and extent of the marital estate and determine cash flow available after divorce helping you decide if you should keep the house or decide to move out of the house during or after the divorce.

Custody considerations.

The decision to move may impact an award of child custody in a Michigan divorce especially if you decide to move and leave the children at the marital home, even on a temporary basis as doing so could impact the established custodial environment. In simple terms, the child has been living with only one parent for a while Michigan law makes it very difficult to remove a child from an established custodial environment. After all, if you left the child with the other parent, you must have thought that was best for the child. Another important consideration is the distance you move. If you move to another school district, it may result in an examination of choice of school or change of domicile.

Other considerations before you move out.

Deciding to move out of the house will not impact the ownership interest in the home.

Some people believe that if there name is not on the house they are not an owner of the house. This is not necessarily true. More often than not, if only one spouse is named on the deed, both parties remain an owner of the home for divorce purpose

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 house-hold contents before you move out. This can be as simple as a cell phone video walk through of the house.

Can you force your spouse to move out of the house?

The short answer is yes.

The first way is to simply ask your spouse, or tell your spouse to move out. It is not uncommon for a spouse to move out of the marital home in the hopes of getting back together (time alone) or simply to avoid conflict.

The second way to compel your spouse to move out of the house is with a motion for exclusive use of the house is a request made to the trial court for a spouse to move out of the house. Typically, the person filing the motion must allege sufficient facts and circumstances justifying an Order for exclusive use even if they do not rise to level of needing a PPO. For example, if the home is filled with argument which disturb the kids or there are other extenuating circumstances a court can order one parent to move out of the house especially if the circumstances at the house are toxic.

The third way to compel your spouse to move out of the house with by applying for a Personal Protection Order which is often referred to simply as a PPO. A PPO is a court order used to step threats of violence against you. When issued against a spouse, a PPO typically includes a prohibition from residing in the same house. However, if the circumstances of your case do not necessitate a PPO you can also file a motion for exclusive use of the house or marital home.

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By:  Daniel Findling / Findling Law (c) 2019.

The Divorce Guy, Michigan Divorce Attorneys and Specialists

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