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I Want a Divorce. Should I Leave The Marital Residence?


The answer is, “No!”

I tell clients never to leave their home (or hardly ever). Making this move can work against you when divorcing if not properly strategized.

I often hear from clients that once divorce is on the table it is extremely difficult to live together. Especially with warring spouses forced to spend more time at home due to the pandemic. Of course it is difficult! Who wants to smile over coffee, and pretend everything is okay? But thinking about divorce is no reason to make a quick, rash decision and leave your home. This impulsive decision can greatly impact your divorce process and settlement. Moving out can cause you to lose your leverage.

When having a consultation with an angry or scared spouse I always suggest they stay put unless they are in physical or emotional danger.

Here are 4 moving tips to consider:

  1. If you move out, it can be considered abandonment, Seek guidance from an attorney/mediator before leaving the marital residence. It is also difficult to make arrangements for child visitation once you are living apart.
  1. Think about how the bills will be paid, both for the marital residence, as well as the new residence. Moving out causes you to have to deal with managing bills much sooner. Physical separation does not make you exempt from paying bills. Think before you move. Talk to a lawyer/mediator before you suggest your own settlement. People make big mistakes in negotiating directly with a spouse before talking to a lawyer.
  1. If there is a physical threat of violence in your marriage, consider leaving the home and obtaining an Order of Protection; This legally documents the decision to leave the home was based on safety. Ask your attorney how to do this and what is required.
  1. If you are not sure if a separation will lead to a divorce consider having a separation agreement drafted and outline the living arrangements and the financial responsibilities. You could also have a postnuptial agreement drafted. Consider mediation if moving out is really important; this process takes less time and moving out of the marital residence can be rationally discussed and planned in a mediation session.

Please make an informed decision before taking that step out your front door. Leaving your home is an important move and can have long-lasting ramifications.

As a divorce attorney/mediator preparing clients properly and carefully for divorce is always my priority.

Leaving the marital residence is just one important component of a complex, emotionally driven process.

Preparation for divorce is key. Making the right decisions will help you minimize legal complications and reduce emotional pain.

Call me first! I can help you! Let’s talk and work out the details.

Strategy is needed!

During the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic all our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONSare discreetly and conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

I look forward to speaking with you!

Stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner before you move out of your home!!

Schedule your free phone consultation now. Call 212.734.1551