Posted by: Dan Cunningham | January 27, 2011

Should a Married Person Leave his/her Home Prior to Being Divorced or Legally Separated in New York State?

                The answer to this question is a resounding no.  There a handful of exceptions to this, such as certain cases involving extreme domestic violence, but the answer is no in 99% of cases.  These are the reasons why you should not leave your home before signing a separation agreement or being divorced:

  1.  If you have children, you will be required to pay child support to your spouse.  This assumes the child stays in the house.
  2. You can be ordered by a judge to pay household bills despite the fact that you are no longer living in the marital home.
  3. You can be ordered to pay “maintenance” to your spouse. This is a fixed payment, generally monthly, to enable your spouse to pay his/her customary expenses.  This is in addition to child support.
  4. If you have children, leaving the house will hurt your chances of becoming the primary custodian.  It will also hurt your chances of receiving a favorable parenting schedule even if you aren’t seeking primary custody.
  5. Leaving the house can make your case last a lot longer.  Why? Because if your spouse is in the house and you are paying some of the bills or child support, do you think he/she will want to resolve the case?  However, if both spouses are unhappily living in the marital home, there is a good chance the case settles fairly quickly.
  6. It creates the impression that you abandoned your spouse/family.

The point is this – do not leave the marital home until you’ve signed a settlement agreement or been granted a divorce by a judge.  While leaving may seem like the right thing to do in the short term, it will likely cost you thousands of dollars and prolong your divorce.

For more information about the divorce process visit: Albany, NY Divorce Lawyers

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