My wife is telling me to pack my bags and leave the house. I’ve read that leaving the marital home can be severely detrimental to future custody arrangements. Is that true?
I am not licensed to practice in your state and cannot provide you legal advice. However, I can give general tips regarding your situation based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
The question you pose is an important one. Too often, husbands voluntarily leave the marital residence in order to accommodate their wife’s wishes or to make things more comfortable even though the husband has just as much a right to live in the home during the pendency of the divorce as the wife. This decision can and often does have a detrimental effect on future custody arrangements, both on a temporary and permanent basis.
After a divorce is filed, the court will typically enter a temporary order, which will control issues such as child support, custody, visitation, and alimony during the pendency of the divorce. The temporary order will control until modified or a final order, called a decree, is entered. If the parties cannot reach an agreement as to the terms of the temporary order, the parties will have to present evidence to the judge who will then render a decision as to those issues.
In many states, including Oklahoma where I practice, several weeks can pass from the time the petition is filed to the time the temporary order is entered. By moving out of the marital residence, the other party might try to argue that you “abandoned” the kids.
In addition, the party who has remained in the marital residence with the children has now likely established a routine schedule. That party may now be able to convince a judge that the kids should continue in this routine while the divorce is pending if no issues have arisen. In other words, “why change what has been working?”
For more information specific to your case, I recommend you consult an attorney in your jurisdiction that specializes in domestic relations law.