When couples decide to divorce, they often can’t stand to be in the same room together. This means one of them ultimately must move out of the house before the divorce in Colorado.
There are many considerations that go into deciding when and whether to move, and we encourage people to meet with a lawyer before packing up a cardboard box and crashing on a friend’s sofa. Often, men leave the home, letting their wife and children stay put, which can be a disastrous decision. Leaving the home sends the signal that your relationship with your children is less significant than your spouse’s, which is a signal some judges hear loud and clear. Below, our Colorado divorce lawyers walk through some of the considerations about how to move out of your home.
What Should I Do Before Moving Out?
Ideally, you will have a written, signed parenting plan that allocates custody. This plan should be sufficiently detailed and will explain where and when you will have the children. So long as parents reached the agreement voluntarily, a judge should enforce it. Without a signed agreement, you have a live custody dispute and moving out of the home can hurt your case.
What Should I Do if I Move?
You should maintain a strong relationship with your children. Follow the parenting plan. If you don’t have one, then visit them often, daily if possible. At a minimum, maintain regular phone contact. Many judges are nervous to depart from the status quo. If you remove yourself from your children’s lives, then a judge might think you are happy rarely seeing your children.
How Do I Get My Spouse to Move Out?
If he or she doesn’t want to move, this is difficult. Some spouses who pay the mortgage think this gives them the right to decide who stays in the home. That’s not the law. You also should avoid threatening your spouse.
Instead, you could offer to pay for the rent to a new place for the duration of the divorce. Be careful, however, if your spouse wants to take the kids. This looks no different than if you moved out of the house. In fact, it probably looks worse, since you are comfortable uprooting your children.
Can I Force My Spouse to Leave?
There are some ways to go about this. If you owned the home before you were married, and it is solely in your name, you might have the power to request that your spouse leave because it is your separate property. Realize, however, he or she might take the children, and this is the primary concern with leaving the home””how it will impact a child custody decision.
If there has been domestic violence, then you can request a protection order and ask the judge to order your spouse to leave. You should also request temporary custody of your children at the same time, otherwise your spouse has an equal right to the children as you do. With a valid protection order, you can call the police to come and move your spouse out. If your spouse refuses, he or she is in contempt of court.
There may be other methods for getting your spouse to move, which you should discuss with an attorney. Contact Divorce Matters to review all your options.