After spouses separate, the question often arises whether one spouse should move out of the marital residence. People often expect this will be the husband. People also think that the tensions and awkwardness of separating may make it preferable to live separately.
From a legal and financial perspective, it is often not advisable that a person voluntarily leave the marital residence. Here are some reasons:
- Children: If you have children, the children will probably remain in the marital residence with the other spouse. The spouse leaving is voluntarily separating himself or herself from the children. This could have negative consequences in any future custody decision by a court.
- Bills: Household bills are often in the names of both spouses, or even in just the name of the spouse leaving the house. You may remain legally obligated to pay the bills, even though you receive no benefit. If you refuse to pay the bills, that decision could ruin your credit rating.
- Spousal Support: A court may order you to pay temporary spousal support to your spouse pending the divorce litigation. You may end up having to support your spouse in the lifestyle you used to live, while maintaining the expenses of a new residence.
Of course, there can also be very good reasons for one spouse leaving the house. If there is any question of physical abuse, then clearly the spouse suffering will want to avoid that situation. Such a scenario could also cause harm to the children witnessing it. A spouse leaving the house may also present a preferable situation where the couple does not have any concerns about money. Thus, one spouse having to maintain a separate household does not present a major concern.
You will want to consult with an attorney before making any major decisions. Your attorney can advise you of the best way to proceed in your situation.
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