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50 Northcrest Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503

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What Are Your Rights If You Leave The Marital Home During Your Divorce?

By Jan 3, 2022 Posted in Articles

What Are Your Rights If You Leave The Marital Home During Your Divorce?

When one spouse or the other files for divorce it can be very difficult to continue to live in the same house together until the divorce becomes final. Some couples remain friendly and amicable during the process, but this is not often the case. There are certain factors to take into consideration when making the decision on whether to stay or move out of the marital home. One question our Iowa divorce attorneys are frequently asked is, “What are my rights if I leave the marital home?” The answer to this question differs depending on the unique factors in each situation. Those who are divorcing may want to consider visiting with an experienced divorce attorney at Simpson Legal Group, LLC at 712-256-9899 to have their questions answered and ensure their legal rights remain protected.

Waiting Period in Iowa Divorce Cases

According to Iowa Code Section 598.19 there is a 90-day waiting period from the date the receiving spouse is served notice before the divorce will become final. This can feel like an extremely long period of time for those involved in a contentious or adversarial divorce. When one spouse is vengeful, spiteful, or accusatory, living together under the same roof can be excruciating. This is one of the reasons many spouses make the decision to leave the marital home during the divorce process.

Children Factor Into the Decision to Leave the Marital Home

Everything becomes more difficult in a divorce when spouses share children. It is natural to want to do what is best for any minor child or children, and there are many things to consider including:

  • Whether the children can remain in the same school if they move with the spouse leaving the marital home
  • Whether they will live near friends and family in a familiar community
  • How the move may impact their emotional health
  • Who will care for the children while the parent works

When a spouse leaves during the divorce and children remain in the marital home, it may be a benefit to consider visiting with an experienced family law attorney at Simpson Legal Group, LLC if they desire primary care or custody of the children.

Financial Concerns

Depending on the financial situations of both spouses, moving out of the marital home during the divorce can be difficult, or even impossible, considering the additional expenses involved. Rent and utility costs on a new place to live can be substantial, especially when the spouse who moved out is still responsible for paying half of the costs associated with the marital home. When the spouse who leaves a martial home is the primary income earner, he or she may be responsible for paying child support or temporary spousal support. Leaving the marital home is something many spouses choose to do pending the finalization of their divorce. It is important to consider the financial aspects of doing so, and how that may impact life after a divorce.

When a Spouse Should Consider Moving Out of the Marital Home

While there are many reasons to remain in the marital home during a divorce, there are a few situations in which it is probably best to leave. Neither spouse can force the other to move out of the marital home, but it should be considered in the following situations:

  • Fear of physical danger or domestic abuse
  • The living situation in the marital home is intolerable (verbal abuse, frequent heated arguments, etc.)
  • The impact on children when living in an environment filled with arguments and tension

When the living environment in the marital home becomes unbearable or has a negative effect on the children’s physical, mental, and emotional health it is often best to consider leaving. Those spouses who find themselves in any of these situations may want to consider reaching out to Simpson Legal Group, LLC before they make their final decision to leave the marital home.

Safeguarding Property and The Marital Home

When a spouse chooses to leave the marital home during a divorce, it often impacts their ability to keep the marital home following the divorce. For those who seek ownership, moving out tends to reduce the leverage they have with the courts. It is also important to consider the property that is often left behind when considering whether to leave the marital home. Most spouses who move out cannot take everything they own with them until the divorce is finalized. Some examples of property include:

  • Furnishings
  • Family heirlooms
  • Antiques
  • Expensive artwork
  • Electronics

A vengeful spouse may decide to sell or destroy the property of their spouse when it is left behind. Take everything into consideration when deciding whether it is best to remain in the marital home or move out.

Consider the Psychological and Emotional Impact

When spouses decide to live together in the marital home pending their divorce it can be extremely difficult in some circumstances. Living in an environment that is rife with conflict and contention is harmful not only to the spouse who tries to be agreeable, but any children living in the home. The stress can also impact physical health, the ability to properly care for the children, and even your job performance. There are situations in which the only right decision is to leave the marital home.

When Moving Out Is the Only Option

When it has been determined that the only solution is to leave the marital home, there are some important tasks that should be completed prior to leaving. These include:

  • Consulting with a lawyer regarding financial and custodial issues
  • Taking inventory and photographing valuable property and assets
  • Making copies of important documents (deeds, titles, etc.)
  • Choosing a place to live that is in close proximity of children and the schools they attend
  • Establishing a court ordered temporary child custody and visitation agreement

In any divorce it is essential to protect your legal rights and those of your children to the greatest extent possible. Considering everything that is involved, a divorce can be extremely stressful and complicated without the assistance of an experienced Iowa divorce attorney.

Consider Scheduling a Consultation with Simpson Legal Group, LLC

Have you asked yourself the question, “What are my rights if I leave the marital home?” The fact is a spouse can leave the marital home at any time, but all the potential consequences must be weighed with great thought and consideration. There are times it is best to leave, and times it is best to stay. Those with questions are invited to schedule a consultation with Simpson Legal Group, LLC at 712-256-9899.


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50 Northcrest Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503
Phone: 712.256.9899

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