The process of divorce can be an emotionally-charged and complicated one. If you and your spouse are considering separating, it can help you both to meet with a lawyer for sound legal advice. When meeting with a lawyer, bring a list of questions such as the ones below, so you can get a better understanding of what to expect in the near future to come:
Can I take things out of the house if I want to move?
Whether you can take items from the home depends on the situation. If you and your spouse have agreed upon things, then it is probably okay to take belongings that are yours. If you and your spouse are currently dealing with a dispute over property, you may take items, but keep in mind that their value may be considered and subtracted from the property share, or you will have to give it back in the end.
It is advisable that during this delicate time that you avoid conflict over belongings whenever possible. Your lawyer can help you navigate difficult conversations or situations as they arise.
What is one of the most challenging things I will encounter?
As the divorce process proceeds further, one of the challenges that may occur is trying to afford the expenses of life after transitioning from two incomes to one. Your lawyer can work with you and let you know whether you are eligible to file for spousal support, which can be approved even before the divorce has been finalized. If you want to move out of the home but cannot because of financial concerns, it is recommended that you speak with a lawyer about your options.
If the spouse who is higher-earning moves out of the home, then they may be expected to still pay for many of the household costs, including insurance, utilities, mortgage, etc. The spouse who remains in the home may have to give up property or finances during the divorce settlement, as a way to make up for being able to remain in their formerly shared home together.
However, it is worth noting that just because one spouse stays in the home during separation, does not automatically mean they will get the house when property is divided between them. As your lawyer may tell you, state laws require that any property obtained from the marriage must be divided “equitably” or fairly. The contributing factors that can influence who gets what property amidst divorce include:
- The duration of the marriage
- How much each spouse contributed to the acquiring of property
- The health, employability, age, and number of support systems or resources available for each spouse
- The earnings of each spouse
What are options for creative parenting as my spouse and I separate?
If you have children together, it is understandable that you are concerned about their wellbeing and adjustment during this time. There are unique ways that can help ease the financial burden for both of you while also ensuring your children are getting the support they need. For example, one option is for parents to live in the same home with the kids for an alternating period of time. So essentially, the children would still live in the home and you and your spouse would take turns living with them while staying at a friend or family member’s home nearby.