Moving Out Before Divorce Is Final Causes Problems
“What happens if the husband or wife moves out before divorce?” This is one of the most common queries we face as a divorce law firm in Texas.
It is not uncommon for one of the parties to decide to move out of the house before their divorce is finalized in Texas.
This can happen when one party decides that they want to start a new life and move on with their life.
It could also be because the couple has agreed that it would be best if they live apart while they are going through the divorce process.
However, if you are considering moving out of your house before your divorce is finalized in Texas, there are some things you should know.
In this post, we have listed these consequences and ways to avoid them.
Four ways moving out before divorce can affect you
From financial consequences to the impact on your children, the consequences of moving out before the divorce is finalized are multiple.
While in theory, it is possible to get a divorce within two months in Texas, the reality is that it can take six months to a year or more in many cases.
There are many steps involved in the divorce process.
After filing for divorce, both parties will have to attend mandatory mediation sessions with a neutral third party. These sessions are meant to help the couple reach an agreement on any issues that they cannot agree on between themselves.
If they are unable to reach an agreement after mediation, then they will need to go through a trial. A contested divorce can drag on for months depending on the complexity of the case.
One problem that occurs when the husband or wife moves out before divorce is that they may have to rent another apartment.
While it can it be hard to find a new place if you move out in a hurry, you may end up paying the rent for the new apartment for a long time.
In addition, you may still be handling your financial obligations towards your marital home that you moved out of.
This will double your expenses, adding more stress to an already stressful situation.
So, before you move out of the house, make sure that you have a plan for where to go and how to support yourself financially.
The negative impact on children
Moving out before divorce, particularly, if you have children, causes more harm than good. If you are planning to take your children with you, remember that it will be hard on them to move suddenly and leave their friends behind.
While divorce is stressful for all parties involved, children often bear the brunt of the trauma.
Studies show the academic performance of children of parents going through divorce suffers. These children have a higher dropout rate, earn lower grades, and have a higher risk of depression, aggression, substance use, and other behavioral problems.
Younger children can suffer from separation anxiety and experience sleep issues.
The impact of divorce on children is a lot more than the parents realize. It is important that the parents do not make any sudden moves before the divorce because it will affect their children in a negative way.
The best thing that parents can do for their children is to make sure that they are as prepared as possible for this major life change.
Irrespective of whether the husband or wife moves out before divorce, here are some ways to minimize the negative impact on the children:
- Be honest with your child about the divorce
- Offer support and guidance to children.
- Allow children time and space to express their feelings.
- Provide opportunities for kids to talk with others who may be going through a similar situation.
- Make every effort to maintain a healthy, cooperative relationship with the other parent, even when it’s hard.
Child custody issues
Before moving out of your family residence, you need to also think about child custody and visitation arrangements.
There are four types of child custody in Texas:
1) Sole physical custody: one parent has sole physical custody of the children and the other parent has rights to visitation.
2) Joint physical custody: both parents have joint physical custody of their children, with rights to visitation.
3) Sole legal custody: one parent has sole legal custody and the other has rights to visitation.
4) Joint legal custody: both parents have joint legal custody and share decision-making responsibilities for their children.
The Family Code states that in order for one parent to be granted sole custody, they must be able to prove that it is in the best interest of the child.
There are many factors that go into deciding child custody, such as the mental and physical health of both parents, the child’s preference, and so on.
The Texas Family Code lists factors that are considered in determining child custody, including:
- the wishes of the child’s parents
- the wishes of the child if he or she is at least 14 years old
- any evidence that either parent has acted violently toward the other parent
- any evidence that either parent has sexually abused a child
- whether there was domestic violence between both parents during their relationship with each other
- whether either parent has committed adultery
- the interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
If you or your child has experienced abuse or violence from your spouse, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety.
If this is not the case, you should not move out of your marital home before coming to an agreement with your spouse on child custody and visitation.
If the husband or wife moves out before divorce, it can give the impression that they are not the responsible parent. It can also look like you are abandoning or neglecting your children. This can hurt your chances of getting sole custody if that is what you are seeking.
The impact on property division
Texas is a community property state, which means that the marital assets are divided equally between the divorcing couple. This can be done by an agreement between both spouses or by a court order.
In most cases, the largest asset is the marital home. If the home was purchased during the marriage, it will be considered community property and the value will be typically split.
If your name is on the mortgage or the deed, there may be no risk of you losing out on the value of the marital home.
However, whether the husband or the wife moves out before divorce, there are other complications that may arise when it comes to marital assets. This is particularly so in the case of a high net worth divorce.
For instance, leaving your marital home before the divorce is finalized can put you at risk of losing your valuable personal belongings.
In order to ensure a fair property division and avoid any confusion, it is important to list all the marital assets before you leave home in Texas for divorce. This will make it easier for the court to divide the assets if you are unable to come to an agreement with your spouse.
The list will also help you and your spouse figure out how to divide their property.
The list should include all the items that are considered marital property and those that are not. It should also have an
- estimation of the value of each item that is on the list
- the date of purchase
- purchase price
- the current value of the items
Your Texas divorce lawyer will provide a form to record your assets. The form, titled Schedule A-Inventory or Appraisement of Marital Assets, is a list of all the assets and liabilities that a couple may have. The form also has spaces for the date acquired, date sold, cost or other consideration is given, and any other information that may be needed.
Courts in Texas use this form to help determine the property division between spouses when they divorce. The form can also be used to determine what property is exempt from division by one spouse if there are no children and no need for spousal support.
It is important to make a list of all these assets whether the husband or wife moves out before divorce.
- real estate
- bank accounts
- retirement accounts
- stocks and bonds
- furniture, jewelry, artwork, etc.
- business interests
- all other financial assets, such as insurance
In addition to your marital assets, you will also need to make a list of the debts you and your spouse owe.
In Texas, debts are also typically divided equally between spouses. However, if one spouse has more debt than the other, then the court will order the former to pay some of it before dividing the assets.
If there are joint debts, then both spouses typically have to pay off all of them before being able to receive any property from their marriage. If a couple has separate debts, then they each have to pay for those before they can receive any property from their marriage.
If the husband or wife moves out before divorce without making a list of the debt owed, it can become difficult to divide the assets in a fair manner.
Before moving out, it is important to make a list of all the debts you and your spouse owe including:
- credit card loans
- equity loans
- auto loan
- tax liabilities
- student loans
- rent payments
- medical bills
Unless you have experienced cruelty or domestic violence, we recommend that you do not move out of your marital home before the divorce gets finalized.
What if I have experienced cruelty or domestic violence?
There are both ‘fault’ and “no-fault” grounds for divorce in Texas. These include:
Here are the fault-based grounds:
Cruelty -Cruelty can be physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological. It can include behaviors such as assault and battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, or harassment.
Abandonment -Abandonment is a ground for divorce when one spouse leaves the house and stays away for a minimum period of one year.
Criminal record: Conviction of felony and confinement in jail.
Adultery: According to the Texas Family Code, the malicious act of infidelity is a ground for divorce.
These are the no-fault grounds for a divorce in Texas:
Living apart: Living apart continuously without cohabitation for three years
Irreconcilable differences: This ground for divorce means that the couple has been unable to work out their differences and likely will never be able to.
Confinement for a mental illness: If one spouse has been confined at a mental hospital for a mental illness for a minimum period of three years, the other can file for divorce.
If you have experienced domestic violence or abuse, you will need to take immediate steps to secure your safety. Consulting a divorce lawyer in Texas as soon as possible is the best way to understand what steps you should take in case domestic abuse is the grounds for divorce.
Apart from filing for divorce, you can approach the court for a restraining/protective order while requesting the judge to order the abusive spouse to move out.
Your family law attorney in Texas will also advise you if you can file criminal charges (assault, threatening, trespassing, or harassment) against your spouse.
The benefits of consulting an experienced divorce lawyer in Richmond, TX
As you know now, moving out before the divorce is finalized is not recommended. Consulting an experienced divorce lawyer is the best way to understand what steps to take to protect your rights.
As the leading divorce law firm in Texas, we at the Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., work closely with you to achieve a favorable outcome that protects your rights and interests.
With extensive experience in the field, we are aware of the intricacies involved in a divorce whether they relate to property division, custody arrangements, or a high net worth divorce.
Get in touch with us to know more about our services.