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Leaving the House Before a Divorce Agreement Is Reached Can Be a Mistake

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Leaving the House Before a Divorce Agreement Is Reached Can Be a Mistake

Leaving the House Before a Divorce Agreement Is Reached Can Be a Mistake by Daniel Burns

{2:38 minutes to read} A spouse leaving the house is often one of the reasons couples wind up in court. Even if the two of you have talked about things and believe you have an agreement worked out with the bills and the children, it is not uncommon for misunderstandings to arise that lead to a court action being started.

Things often get tense between you and your spouse when you are getting a divorce. Because of this tension, it is tempting to want to remove yourself from the situation by leaving the house. By doing that, however, you are leaving yourself open to a lot of financial and emotional damage.

First, if you leave without an agreement, in writing, as to what bills each of you are paying and how any children are being supported, you leave yourself open to a support petition that your spouse can file in the local Family Court. Since you may not know in advance what the court will do, you may wind up paying support to your spouse, who is still in the house, in an amount that does not leave you with enough to pay your own bills.

Second, if you have children and you leave them behind in the house with your spouse, you have created a presumption that your spouse is going to be the custodial parent. This means that the best outcome you are likely to have is seeing your children during some designated times/days set forth by your spouse.

You could try to take the children with you when you leave, but if your spouse objects, he/she can file a petition demanding that the children be returned to their house. A court is almost certainly going to require you to do so unless you can demonstrate that some harm will come to the children if they remain in the house with your spouse.

Finally, after you leave the house your spouse may have little incentive to reach an agreement. After all, it is unlikely that his/her life is going to get any better once an agreement is reached, so what’s the rush. This means that it might take months, if not years, for your spouse to agree to something that you can live with.

While it might be uncomfortable to remain in the house with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it is far better to stay put until at least the important issues are worked out. That means you have a written agreement as to how the two of you will raise and provide for your children, how you are going to divide up any marital assets and liabilities and how you will each pay your bills.

If you feel that staying in the house places you or your children in danger, call the police. They can deal with your safety concerns. Short of that, stay put until you have a written agreement that has been signed by each of you.

Daniel R. Burns

Attorney & Mediator
1187 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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