Usually the largest asset subject to equitable distribution in a divorce is the marital residence and thus, you might feel that if you vacate the residence, you automatically lose your interest in the residence. However, that is false. You are still entitled to your share of the equity in the residence whether or not you live there during the pendency of the divorce proceeding. However, a more important concern is that once you vacate the residence and you establish a new residence, after a certain period of time, you will not be able to return to the residence without a Court Order or your spouse’s consent. Your spouse may change the locks and not allow you inside the residence. The reason is that your spouse is entitled to his or her privacy, the same way that you are entitled to your privacy. Your spouse would not be able to come into your new residence as he or she desires and thus, your spouse would be entitled to the same privacy.
Furthermore, when deciding to leave the residence, there are additional issues that arise, such as:
1. Will you be required to contribute to the expenses on the marital residence once you move out?
2. How will you pay for the expenses on your new residence?
3. If you have children, what will be the temporary custody arrangement and parenting time schedule?
Schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney to discuss the facts of your matter before you vacate the residence. [posted by Lynda Picinic, Esq.]