Divorce, Separation and Domestic Partnerships
First Things First -- Should I Leave?
Leaving your family home is a serious decision. If you are the victim of physical abuse, you may be eligible for a restraining order under the Family Abuse Prevention Act which will require your abuser to leave the family home and, on a temporary basis, may award you custody of any joint children.
Even without a restraining order, you can be awarded temporary possession of a family home and/or temporary custody of children and temporary child and spousal support. Such temporary orders can be obtained after filing for divorce or separation, and after notice and a hearing before a judge.
In some situations, you may have to leave your family home without a restraining order or temporary order. You should consider the following precautions: First, make an inventory of personal and joint property. Any property taken from the family home should be noted. Second, make an inventory of joint checking or savings accounts. If possible, divide the accounts fairly before leaving. A person who withdraws funds from a joint account may be subject to an accounting or reimbursement in later proceedings. Third, consider canceling any joint credit cards or credit lines, because after you leave, your spouse may incur debt for which you may be responsible.
If you leave with your children, the other parent is generally entitled to reasonable parenting time, also known as visitation, and contact with the children. If you do not have a temporary custody or protective order, the other parent will have equal custodial rights until a court determines otherwise.
Leaving your family home is a serious decision with significant consequences. It is important to obtain professional legal advice, preferably before and certainly after you leave.
Kramer & Associates