Should I Move out of the House Before the Divorce?

by Chris on February 23, 2010


In all the questions that we would get from our visitors, this was probably one of the most common. Unfortunately, many men who are going through a divorce assume that they would be expected to move out of the house as the divorce is finalized.  You see it on TV all the time… The wife and the kids stay in the family home while a husband gets an apartment in the area.  And a lot of guys will actually do this before they even get a divorce attorney, assuming that the details will be worked out at a later date.

Are you ready for what you should really do?… Never move out of the house voluntarily!

There are several reasons why this is so important.  First off, you are telling everyone including the judge that you have the financial means to afford your own place, and in which case you will also likely have to help pay for the mortgage on the house that you don’t even live in.  Secondly, you are inadvertently telling the judge that you have no issues with letting your wife have custody of the kids.  If this wasn’t the case then why did you have no problem moving out of the house and leaving them behind.  None of this is probably your intentions, but it gives that perception and like always “actions speak louder the words”.

Then what is it that you should do? Especially when your wife keeps pushing you to leave… There a couple of alternatives to voluntarily moving out of your house.

  • If your wife is so uncomfortable being around you during this time, then you can give her the option to move out.  She won’t like this option one bit, but if by some very slim chance she decides to leaves… Do not let her take the kids when she moves!!!  The children should not be uprooted from their home, their friends, because you and your wife are having issues.  Let her visit the kids when ever she wants, but she should not be allowed to move them.
  • Since the first option is unlikely, you can suggest to your wife that you do a 50-50 share of the home until your divorce is finalized.  You each can live in the house 2 weeks out of the month, get to see your kids 50% of the time, and you can still claim the house as your permanent residence.  The other part of the time, live with a friend or family member so that you don’t have to get a whole other place to live the other 50% of the time (or work out a deal where you and your wife get an apartment together, where each of you can live while not staying at the house.
  • And finally, if you have a big enough home, then set up separate living spaces at opposite sides of the house.  And come up with a schedule where you have minimal contact with your wife, until the divorce is figured out.  In the past this may have been an issue because some states required a specific separation period where the husband and wife live apart for a certain length of time.  But with the current economic times, many states have amended this to allow a husband and wife to separate without anyone moving out of the house, under the terms that there is no sexual relationship during this period.

It is very important to stick to your guns on this.  But you also need to be very cautious during this time period, because your wife and her divorce attorney may be cooking up a scheme on how to get you out of the house via a restraining order or no contact order using false accusations of abuse, or claim that you are a threat to her safety.  We will get in more detail on this in the near future, and talk about some ways that you can go about protecting yourself from this.  In the meantime, avoid all unnecessary confrontations with your wife.

You can also speak with your attorney about writing up some paperwork so that you can move out of the house without worrying about the perception issues mentioned earlier.  This often comes in the form of a separation agreement, again something we will go into more detail in a later post (including how you can come up with your own bullet-proof agreement).

Note: If you are concerned about false accusations made by your wife and her divorce attorney or have already been victimized by this unethical, yet common, divorce tactic, then you should seriously check out Restraining Order 911 by Ron Lasorsa.  A very unique guide that will show you how to “cover your ass” in this situation.

Property and Assets

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua March 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Great advice. I know too many men who moved out way before they had to. Personally, I was in the house for 9 moths before I was forced to move and it worked out fine.

William S. July 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I understand why I should stay in the house, and I honestly cannot afford to pay the mortgage and still get a place of my own. I built the house with my dad and 2 brothers and don’t want to give up on it so easily. But I am really concerned about what would happen as my divorce moves along. She asked for the divorce, and I know for sure that she has been out with another guy more than once. But she acts like she is pissed at me for agreeing to the divorce, and “breaking up the family”. She tells me that I need to move out at least 20 times a day.

I know she is capable of doing some real spiteful things. Early on in the marriage she was convinced that I was messing around on her. So one time after we got back from a party, we got into an argument about it. I told her over and over again that it wasn’t true, but because she was so drunk she wouldn’t let up. She ended up calling the cops and claiming that I threw her to the floor and tried to kick her. And when they showed up, she actually laid on the floor and started acting like she was hurt. The cops cuffed me right away, and had me sitting on my driveway for over an hour before finally figuring out that nothing happened. And I still had to leave for the night! I know that she would do something like this again, and I am worried that this time she would get them to believe her lies. I feel like the best plan is to stay as far away from her as possible until the divorce is over. But I cant stand the thought of losing my home! I need some advice on how I can handle this properly. If she is able to pin some domestic violence thing on me, I know for sure that I would lose my job. What the hell should I do?!?

Dale Sulek November 18, 2010 at 12:20 am

My wife makes almost the same as I do, 10,000 or less. Our kids are over 18. Will I have to pay monthly maintenance fees to her after our divorce? The money for the last childs’ college is in a separate account. What happens with FASFA when we are separated? Should I stay living there during the process?

Divorced in Seattle December 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Here is my sad story guys. My first piece of advice is whatever you do – do not move out of the house. No matter how bad she makes it – stick to your principles and don’t leave.

My ex is an RN but had decided to go back to graduate school six months prior to announcing she wanted a divorce. This had the effect of lowering her income since she was working less (yes I think there was some planning going on there). I had paid for her undergraduate degree in nursing and encouraged her to go back to school. I of course offered to finance that too and purchased a shiny new laptop to help with her school work. That was shortly after purchasing her a new SUV after she complained about the one she was driving.

Anyway, back to the house. I made this mistake of moving out during my divorce and I am still paying for it. I did stay in the house for three months after my ex announced she wanted a divorce. When things heated up and she started lying, my really incompetent attorney advised me to move out.

She began making stuff up and attempting to pick fights around the two month mark. On two occasions she resorted to physical violence to try and goad me into retaliating. My attorney suggested recording conversations with her and the family to attempt to show my side of it. That turned out to be bad advice as the divorce court judge completely laid into my attorney during the first hearing for suggesting this plan.

My advice is to invite someone you know and trust to stay with you during this time. That is a lot to ask of someone – but the stakes are high.

My ex was willing to lie repeatedly on record without having to offer any evidence. Our legal system seems very vulnerable to this kind of abuse – especially if you are male. She wanted me out of the house and was willing to lie to do it. And guess what… it worked for her. My ex is still living in the house and I am paying the mortgage.

My other piece of advice for men going through a divorce – especially for “nice guys” – Stop being nice! I tried to “not push back” and try to give my spouse time to work through her issues. Once she calls that attorney – you have to get down to business and assume the worst. My spouse turned into a completely different person and it became all about money and assets for her. I got gouged pretty good just because early on I didn’t want to play hardball.

Anyway – good luck for those going through the process. Stay tough!

Not-So-Simple Divorce January 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

Hello Divorced in Seattle, If I may say it… that was just wrong. It appears that she doesn’t have any conscience at all when it comes to your divorce. I really believe that there are several things that she should have never done. Even though she decided to put an end to your marriage, she must have known at some point that she didn’t love you anymore and could have had enough of a conscience to show you some respect. At some point, she loved you enough to marry you, and your were her husband for quite some time… perhaps you were not the perfect husband, but it seems that you were at the least a very good husband to her. Thank you for sharing the story about your divorce. There are surely others like me that are in a similar situation as you have described.

allison a. March 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

My husband was cheating and it got to the point I had to leave and get my kids out of the situation. Now that we are getting ready for court, I am wanting the house in the divorce. He continues to half make the payments on the house stays a month behind and about every 3 months he only make an interest payment… He also let the house insurance cancel so they added it to the house payment. That shows he can’t afford it. So I am looking at getting the house in the divorce. What kind of chance do I have?

E. B. April 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

My wife has filed for divorce. Not armed with this information, I moved out f the house. She has assumed the morgage and otherwise payments on the house. Our child is with her. My question is this: She has been the primay bread-winner, making about three times the amount as I; can I petition for alimony?

Tim Shepard December 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Unfortunately its all too easy for the wife to file a false domestic violence claim. Lawyers have modified the law so that any kind of behavior can be interpreted as abusive by the courts, then she gets a restraining order and guaranteed custody. My ex did this to me. The criminal behavior of the family courts knows few boundaries.

Glenn February 19, 2012 at 5:14 am

My advice is not only do not move out, but insist on sharing (separately) the main bedroom. Insist on shifts in common areas, and sell-off any/all sell-able items to be placed in trust for any children. Do not make any sizable purchases during the separation (>10% single Gross income). Make sure people you know well visit the house during this period. Remove yourself physically from the house as often as you can while still performing your duties as a householder.

If you are worried your wife will make a false Domestic Violence claim against you, talk about this with her first. Even an idiot will think twice about this course of action when confronted with it. Make a record of all the arguments she starts with you, and NEVER start an argument your self. Be neat & tidy with everything you do, which means living like a priest. Do NOT drink, at all – If you must, never drink at home or be under the influence at home. If she wants to file a false claim for assault, it will generally be after both of you have had alcohol.

Never think of her as the person you fell in love with. This is all about retaining what semblance of sanity and dignity you have left. Make the decision, and STICK with it. If you look at her like she is anything other than a lost cause, you are setting yourself up for pain.

Basically, marriage is designed for women, to score trinkets and compete against their friends. Divorce is also designed for the benefit of women, the law of western countries still being stuck in the 18th century, when justice was heavily biased towards women. Once you understand the game, it’s not so hard to play.

And finally, but MOST importantly. You fell for the marriage lies once. Don’t ever get married again. You will find someone.

Larry E February 27, 2012 at 6:21 am

I am currently in a ugly divorce with my wife. I had an operation on OCT 3 2011 and she kicked me out on OCT 5 2011 with no where to go and no money. I quit my job and became a stay at home dad for our three kids. She stays in the house and I had to have family help me get a place. What am I entitled to since she is the moneymaker in the house? Will she have to sell the house or do you think the judge will let her keep the house cause she has the kids?

David March 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

our house was a foreclosure and empty for 2 years before we bought it so we really got a great deal. It is appraised and I pay taxes at 512k but we only paid 300K for it.
Can I force the house to be placed back on the market and get 50% of equity?

K.B. August 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

My husband left me and his stepson two years ago. It devastated us because we didn’t see it coming and I never really understood why he left. A year later after working on a reconciliation with a therapist..my husband came back. Here we are almost a year later, I found out four days ago he’s been plotting his escape with an apartment and a girlfriend. There were hints that something was going on, but I never thought the person I loved and trusted would hurt us again and scheme to leave us high and dry. I was in the middle of a job change, purchased a new car together that I probably can’t afford on my own and was going to stick us with HIS house that’s not even finished yet and needs repairs already…..who does this???!!

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