If your spouse tells you to move out, you should consult a family law attorney before doing so. There can be negative legal consequences that result from moving out of the marital home. Generally, your spouse cannot force you out of the marital home without your agreement or a court order. During divorces, judges often grant temporary orders to protect spouses’ property and to safeguard the safety and welfare of children. Absent a temporary order, the following are some legal consequences of moving out of the marital home.
If a spouse moves out of the marital home for a prolonged period of time, this could result in grounds for fault divorce. The potential fault concerning moving out includes abandonment and living apart for at least three years. Texas Family Code 6.005, 6.006. If a spouse is found to be at fault, Texas courts can take that into consideration when dividing the community estate.
If minor children are involved, moving out of the marital home may impact your likelihood of obtaining primary conservatorship. While various factors are taken into consideration for child custody matters, moving to a smaller residence, a home that is farther away from the other parent or the children’s school, and not consistently caring for the children after you move out can greatly impact child custody matters. Courts want to minimize the impact of a divorce on children, so when it is in the children’s best interests, they will keep the children in the home they traditionally live in.
What to Do:
Before moving out of the marital home, it is best to contact an experienced family law attorney. A family law attorney is equipped to discuss the consequences and possible alternatives to moving out, such as moving to a guest room or reaching an agreement with your spouse. If you have any questions about moving out and its legal implications, contact a Kirker Davis attorney.