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Should You Leave or Stay in Your Marital Home During a Divorce in Texas?

The marital home tends to be a hot-button issue during a Texas divorce. Aside from being the couple’s most valuable financial asset, the marital home holds plenty of emotional significance to both spouses, making it all the more difficult to decide whether you should move out or stay during the divorce proceedings.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. Instead, it is best to understand the specifics of your situation, which can be done by consulting your Texas divorce attorney. Your lawyer can walk you through these factors to when deciding whether to leave or stay home.

You Have Been a Victim of Domestic Violence

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, it is in your best interest to secure your safety (and of your child, if applicable). This may entail asking a court to issue a restraining or protective order, wherein the judge will order your spouse to move out of the marital home. While waiting for this process to happen, your attorney will recommend that you leave the home temporarily for your protection (and your children’s).

You Have Children

Even if you believe that you should get custody of your children, it may not be a good idea to move out without having made safe and sufficient arrangements for your children to leave and stay with you. It is generally best to do this only after temporary orders have been meted out.

If you leave the home before temporary orders and the children stay there with your spouse, you will have significantly weakened your ability to seek custody of your children. More often than not, the Court equates leaving the home—even temporarily—to leaving the children. In addition, Texas courts usually award temporary use of the marital home to the parent who has custody of the children.

You Want Ownership of the Marital Home

For one reason or another, a spouse tends to lose leverage when seeking ownership of the marital home during the divorce if he or she moves out. More specifically, it is usually difficult to get the court to issue an order getting you to move back after leaving.

You are Unsure of Your Ability to Pay for the Home’s Upkeep

Living in the home is one thing, being able to pay for upkeep is another. And with two sources of income now down to one (i.e. yours), paying for taxes, mortgage payments, and maintenance among others can be difficult. It is no surprise then why many couples continue to live in the marital home even as they go through the divorce proceedings.

You Have Other Property You Wish to Safeguard

Moving out of the home means leaving it under your spouse’s control. If you have personal belongings you can’t take with you, you should know that your spouse may do with it as he or she pleases. The risk of this happening is particularly high in a contentious separation.

Of course, it is important to remember that even if you leave the marital home, this does not you are forfeiting all claims to any marital equity or entitlement after property division. Still, any lawyer will know that there is strategic value to staying in the home under the right circumstances. If you, or a loved one, are going through a divorce and need assistance in deciding whether to stay or leave the marital, talk to the family law experts of Lyttle Law Firm. Call us today at 512.215.5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin family law attorney Daniella Lyttle.

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