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I might be getting a divorce. Can I move out or is that "abandonment"?

A common question that potential clients who may be seeking a divorce ask is whether or not they should move out of the marital residence or if that would be considered "abandonment." While "abandonment" is not recognized in Florida, moving from your home may be prejudicial to your court case for other reasons.

First, if you move from the marital residence during or prior to a divorce and children are involved, the move could make it harder for the moving spouse to exercise timesharing of the child or children. Such a situation might establish a status quo with the children that may not be beneficial to the moving spouse’s case. For example, if the Husband moves out and for whatever reason, cannot see the children on his designated day(s), then the Wife may use that to her advantage when permanent timesharing is established (or vice versa). The Court often considers a plan for the children that will provide them stability and continuity. Therefore, it makes it more likely that the children will continue in the situation that has existed, if possible, and when in the children's best interest.

Also, a move could make it easier for the other spouse to get exclusive use and possession of the marital residence, which would essentially ban the moving spouse from the house. This means that the spouse who moved out may not be allowed back to the marital residence to collect additional belongings or to visit the children.

Finally, moving out could cause unanticipated financial constraints and other problems for both spouses. If you require financial support from your spouse and you move out of the marital residence, then the court might decide that the other party does not have the means to provide you support or it may take longer than you anticipated to get a hearing before the Judge thereby delaying any potential support to which you are entitled. Conversely, if you make more money than your spouse and you move out during or prior to a divorce, you could incur the additional costs of creating a second household such as rent and utilities while the Court finds that you are still required to contribute to the expenses of the other household.

While it is understandably hard to put emotions to the side in divorce cases, it is important to take a rational, business-like approach to decisions you make that might affect your case. If you have questions about divorce or any other legal matter, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible for advice to avoid making mistakes that might harm you in the future. A competent family law attorney can help you make the best decision based on the individual facts and circumstances of your case.

In addition to divorce matters, our firm also takes on cases involving child support, custody cases, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney

August 6, 2012
 
 
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