During a divorce, when both spouses live under one roof, it can often be compared to a battlefield. In such cases, the notion of one party moving out only seems natural.
While moving out can certainly help to avoid conflicts and give the parties a much needed break from one another, the decision to move out of the family home can have a negative impact on child custody proceedings, specifically for the parent who chooses to move out.
When one of the parents move out, the children usually remain in the family home with the other parent. If the parent who moved out wants to pursue physical custody at a later time, then leaving the children behind will almost certainly act against them.
By leaving the children behind, a parent is sending a message that the other parent is perfectly suitable to have custody of the children.
Since family law judges usually prefer to minimize change as much as possible, they aren't usually inclined to change the children's living situation if they are still living in the family home.
Additionally, family law judges generally don't look favorably upon a parent who removes the children from the family home, especially if they don't seek the court's recognition.
Generally speaking, family law judges prefer to preserve the status quo for children in hopes of promoting stability. If one parent moves out and leaves the children behind with the other parent, family judges will often continue this trend, despite the fact that it can have a negative impact on the relationship with the other parent who moved out.
What about dangerous situations?
We cannot ignore the fact that sometimes a victim of family abuse will want to move out of the family home. If you or your children are for any reason in danger or victims of domestic violence (and you want to be the primary physical custodian), you should move out with the children and right away, go to family court and file for child support and temporary custody.
If you delay this process, your spouse could allege that you took off with the kids without their consent. In that case, a family law judge could order that you return the children pending the child custody proceedings.
Looking for a family law attorney in Encino or the San Fernando Valley? Contact Cutter & Lax for help with all of your child custody and family law issues.