Should You Move Out Before The Divorce is Final? (Pt 1)

Man walking down the road with a suitcase

Hit the road, Jack, or maybe you shouldn’t! Move out or stay… Which one is the right choice?

You’ve seen it before in about a thousand movies – they fight, she cries, he stares vacantly at the wall, each trapped in their own private misery. And whether it was the lipstick on his collar, the money she charges to the credit card that they can’t afford, or simply the sparks that fly when two lives that no longer fit together get rough around the edges, it ends in heartbreak. But what happens next?

If you believe the Hollywood version…

She ends up draped across the couch, crying into her wine, while he ends up alone in some dark and unwelcoming motel, watching crappy reruns on a tiny TV whose remote is screwed to the nightstand. In other words, she stays at home, while he moves out. However, this version of events, where the outcast husband slinks away with his tail between his legs while his weeping wife processes her loss in the comfort of their shared home, is almost always shown to be a terrible idea. But is it really?

Is it a bad idea to move out of your family home?

Most people just want a little space to think after a big fight or the heartbreaking discussion about whether or not to end a marriage. Often it’s the husband who ends up in a hotel, or on a friend’s couch during the “divorce talks”. Usually this is because he is the one who feels obligated to move out, even if the divorce was his wife’s idea. But are there unintended consequences for moving out?

Don’t believe everything you hear (or read!)

In his book The stupidest mistakes men make when facing divorce: And how to avoid them, the author says the mistake that makes it to the top of his list is this: moving out. The author is a divorce lawyer whose practice focuses on representing men in their divorces. He explains that while there are many stupid things men do when faced with divorce, choosing to move out is by far the dumbest. Why? Because according to him, the simple act of packing a bag and moving out (even if it’s only for a few days) can result in accusations of abandonment. But is that really true?

Does moving out really mean you’re abandoning your kids?

Maybe in other states, but not here in Michigan. While the term “abandonment” may be tossed around, there’s no legal theory here in Michigan family law for abandoning your home or kids, as long as you continue to see them regularly and provide for them. So if you want to move out and stay somewhere else for a short time while you and your spouse work through some difficult issues, that isn’t going to count as ‘abandonment’.  In fact, there are situations where this might even be better for you. Then again, it might just be a horrible idea. How do you know when to leave and when to stay?

Don’t make any choices without talking to your attorney first!

Join The Kronzek Firm PLC next time to talk a little more about this somewhat misunderstood subject, so we can clear up a few things for you. Until then, if you’re considering divorce here in Oakland County, and you have questions about your next move, come and talk to our skilled and experienced family law attorneys. We’ll make sure you’re clear on exactly what the best choices are in your situation (and the ones you should avoid!). So call our Oakland County / Farmington Hills office at 1 800-576-6035. Our phones are answered 24/7 and we’re available for crisis intervention even on weekends and holidays.


Call (248) 479-6200