A house is usually a married couple’s most costly asset. Many people also have an emotional connection to their home and the memories it represents. If a couple divorces, should one partner move out? What could be the consequences of such a move? What can happen to the house? A Lake County divorce attorney can help during this time.

If you’ll keep reading, those questions and more are about to be answered in this brief discussion of divorce and the marital home in Indiana. You will also learn more about your rights – and where to turn for legal assistance – if you are seeking to divorce in this state.

When divorce papers are filed, should one spouse or the other move out? There is no definitive answer. For emotional, financial, and legal reasons, this can be a difficult question for many couples to resolve. The details of your personal situation should help you determine the answer.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU MOVE OUT?

If you move out of the house abruptly, your partner’s divorce attorney may claim that the move constitutes marital abandonment.

In Indiana, before you move out of the marital home, consult a reliable Lake County divorce attorney to make certain that you are not waiving any of your rights or putting yourself in a vulnerable legal position.

If domestic violence is an element in your divorce, do whatever it takes to protect yourself and your children. A family law attorney working on your behalf can request from the court a protective order that compels the abusive spouse to move out.

Leaving the marital home yourself, temporarily, to escape domestic violence will not in any way affect your rights to your share of the house in a divorce proceeding. Take the kids too, if they are at risk.

IF A PARENT MOVES OUT, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?

However, if you leave the house and take the children with you, you must request – immediately – a temporary custody order from the court. As mentioned previously, you really should consult a reliable Indiana family lawyer before you move out.

Even if there is no domestic violence or threat to anyone’s safety, it may not be possible for both partners to live in the same home once the choice has been made to get a divorce, and one partner or the other will probably need to move out of the marital home.

Moving back and forth, especially while a divorce is pending, can be hard on the children, so when it’s possible, an Indiana judge will try to maintain a status quo situation for a couple’s children.

WHY IS PARENTAL COOPERATION THE BEST SCENARIO?

If the parents can agree to and sign a written parenting arrangement before either parent moves out of the house, stability for the kids can be maintained, and neither parent will be disadvantaged by the court when it comes time to decide the matter of child custody.

When the parents can’t agree, if the parent moving out wants parenting time, he or she must request from the court an order and a schedule for shared parenting. The earlier these matters can be resolved, the better for all parties involved.

WHAT WILL MOVING OUT MEAN FOR A COUPLE’S FINANCES?

The financial challenge in a divorce is stretching the income from one household so that it covers two. Some couples continue to share a residence while their divorce is pending because the cost of a second residence is insurmountable.

However, if it’s the higher-earning partner who moves out, that partner should presume that he or she will continue to pay most of the household’s expenses, including the homeowners insurance and mortgage. This usually means a more modest lifestyle for that partner.

Still, the spouse who stays in the marital home while a divorce is pending does not gain an advantage over the other spouse when it comes to the division of properties and assets – including the family home.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE HOUSE IF THE SPOUSES CANNOT AGREE?

If divorcing spouses can’t reach their own independent and voluntary agreement regarding the fate of the marital home and the other marital properties and assets, Indiana requires marital property to be divided “equitably” in a divorce, but a precise 50/50 split usually is not necessary.

The marital home can be put up for sale and the proceeds divided, or one spouse can “buy out” the other’s share of the home with cash, with other assets or properties, or even with considerations – meaning compromises – on the questions of alimony and child custody.

WHAT DOES A JUDGE CONSIDER WHEN DIVIDING MARITAL ASSETS?

If the partners cannot agree on how to divide their marital properties and assets, a judge will consider these factors when the assets and properties are divided by the court:

  1. the duration of the marriage
  2. each partner’s contribution to the acquisition of the properties and assets
  3. each spouse’s age, health, finances, and employability or employment status
  4. the number and ages of any children

If you are the partner moving out of the marital home during a divorce in Indiana, create an inventory of all of your properties – yours, your partner’s, and the marital property you share. It is also a smart idea to take photos of anything valuable that you leave in the home.

WHAT ELSE IS REQUIRED FOR AN INDIANA DIVORCE?

While you do not need to separate physically from your spouse before you file for a divorce in this state, you must live separately for at least sixty days before an Indiana court will grant the divorce.

To meet Indiana’s residency requirement for divorce, one partner must live in Indiana for at least six months and in the county where the papers are filed for at least three months. When you file for a no-fault divorce in Indiana, it takes at least sixty days for the divorce to be finalized.

Divorce may not be a couple’s only option. This state also recognizes legal separation as a temporary alternative to divorce. Legal separation can resolve child custody and property division disputes without the need for a divorce or prior to a divorce.

HOW SOON SHOULD YOU CONTACT AN INDIANA DIVORCE LAWYER?

If you’re still a little bit confused by all of the information presented here, you’re not alone.

Divorce and family law in Indiana are exceedingly complicated. Divorcing or separating spouses in this state must have the advice and services of an experienced Lake County divorce attorney from the beginning of the divorce process – and earlier if possible.

An experienced Indiana divorce lawyer will fight aggressively to ensure that you are treated fairly and properly in a divorce procedure and that you do not lose anything in the process that is rightfully yours. Get the legal help you need – right away – when you divorce. That is your right.