Should I Stay or Should I Go?

December 15, 2021 Cindy Best

Leave or stay, that is the question. If you or your spouse are going through a divorce, this can be a difficult and complex answer. If there is any history of domestic violence, then it is much better to live apart than to allow your spouse to continue to abuse you. If you are the abuser, then why do you want to stay and escalate the abuse?  So, what is domestic violence in a marriage? It might be different than you think because it involves far more than physical violence. It can include name calling, door slamming, erratic behavior at all hours of the day and night, stalking your spouse’s whereabouts and texts, the silent treatment coupled with any of these other behaviors, threats, intimidation, not letting you leave a room, throwing objects, putting you in fear for your safety and well being. All ugly stuff. So if any of that is going on, the two of you would be safer apart.

All things being equal, however, two people can live together during a divorce. In some ways, that might not be any different than it was during the marriage. Be civil to each other, clean up your messes, don’t be rude, be nice, and kindly answer questions and talk things out calmly. This can actually work for many families until they decide who is moving where and if they are selling the house and so forth. It works best if there is very little tension and you are doing it for the right reasons. Children are one reason that it might be helpful to live together until things are officially split up. If one spouse just wants to be free of you, you do not have to leave the house voluntarily. It might be a financial hardship if you leave. Certain things also may happen if you vacate the house. One, you might not be allowed back in, even if you change your mind and want to come home. Many judges will consider that once you leave, you are gone. The person who stays in the house has a right to peace. In other words, once you leave the house the person living there should not be expected to allow you to drop in at any time as if you were still living there.
Also, one issue to consider before someone moves is how to split the finances. If you move, you might still be financially liable for the house payment and upkeep, especially if you have been paying these expenses. You cannot stop all your financial responsibility just by leaving. When your case is settled or if it comes in front of a judge, there will be a look back process to see if things and expenses were shared equitably. It might be wise to get a written agreement about the financial issues before someone leaves the house. It can be as simple as writing the agreement on a yellow pad and then have both spouses sign it. If you are not sure, you can call it a temporary agreement and you can get legal advice if you have questions. Do not sign anything that you do not understand. But it is a good idea to come to agreements on how to pay bills, credit cards, cars, and mortgage while the divorce is pending, even if the final outcome will be different. So, should you go or stay. It depends. If you have any qualms, talk to an experienced divorce lawyer and be honest with them about what is going on.

 

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