Some parents choose not to leave the family home when a divorce is pending because they think leaving will impact the final custody decisions. Leaving should not be an indication that either parent is a more suitable parent than the other. However, many attorneys give this advice to clients because it could be seen as a new status quo.
Couples with children should not continue to live together once the divorce process has started because the children are much more likely to be exposed to anger, raw emotions and unfortunate confrontations. Leaving the family home could spare the children from being involved in the difficult emotions.
A problem often occurs when one parent moves out of the home if the parents cannot reach a real agreement on the attorney’s plan for parenting. Each parent is entitled to spend time with the children and the children should have a continuing relationship with each parent. While both parents are under the same roof, there generally is no need for a parenting plan. Once they separate the couple will need to work harder to coordinate continued contact with the children.
If one parent moves out and attempts to take the children with him/her without the other parent’s consent they have placed the children in a “tug of war” situation where the children are the rope and the parents each “take” or try to take what they believe is fair to him/her. If a parent moves out, any temporary plan does create a “status quo” that the Court and/or custody mediator may consider in looking at whether changes to that plan are appropriate. The “status quo” may carry a great deal of weight or have a significant impact on later reviews.
Advice should be sought before making a decision to move out when the parties have no firm temporary agreement.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced collaborative family law attorney Hal Bartholomew has helped many people resolve their differences with dignity, respect and privacy. Contact Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP today for knowledgeable and respectful representation. Call us at (916) 455-5200 or email info@DivorceWithRespect.com.