Should I Move Out When Filing for Divorce?


If you want to move out, keep in mind that your behavior during this time might set a precedent for your Pasadena divorce settlement. If you are hoping to keep the house in the divorce, moving out is not a good idea.

Legally, both spouses have a right to remain in the marital home unless domestic violence is an issue and there is a court order forcing the abusive spouse to vacate the home. Your spouse can't force you to leave because he or she has filed for divorce and you can't throw your spouse out because you've filed for divorce.

If you decide that you want to move out, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Take your name off any utilities, such as the gas, electric, cable, and internet. If you're renting, talk to your landlord and have your name taken off the lease.
  • Make copies of your income tax returns for the past five to seven years. You will need this information when filing for divorce.
  • Make copies of bank statements, insurance policies, and other important financial paperwork. This information is also necessary when filing for divorce.
  • Freeze all joint credit card accounts so new debt can't be added.
  • Inventory the contents of any safe deposit boxes, taking digital photographs of items as necessary.

Large items such as furniture and valuable electronics shouldn't be taken out of the home without your spouse's consent. However, it is fine to remove clothing, photos, and other personal belongings. If you are a woman, you do not have to give your spouse your engagement and wedding rings. Courts have consistently ruled that these items are a gift and not subject to division in divorce, regardless of their monetary value.

Filing for legal separation is not required, but may be a good idea if you have children together and need to have a plan in place for issues such as child custody, visitation, and child support. An attorney can handle the paperwork needed for a legal separation.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of assistance filing for a legal separation or divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm can advise you on issues relating to the division of assets, spousal support, child support, child custody, and visitation.