Leaving the Marital Home When Children Are Involved

The divorce attorneys at the Birmingham firm of Parkman and White, LLC often have divorce and child custody cases where one parent moves out of the marital home, where the children reside, at the request of the other. These requests can take the form of asking for time to breathe, time apart, or other similar issues. However, leaving the marital home prior to initiating a divorce proceeding can have significant legal consequences.

In a custody dispute, the court must determine which parent is the most suitable to have full or joint custody. When considering this issue, courts will consider which parent is the primary caretaker of the children. Especially in the case of minor children, this is normally the parent which remains in the marital home. This is because, in most cases, the minor children continue to reside in the marital home during the divorce proceeding.

As a result, a temporary move out of the marital home in order to attempt to solve problems in the marriage can have effects on a child custody proceeding down the line, if the parties do not resolve their differences. It is important to remember that, unless the co-habitation of the parents presents a danger of violence to the children, or an unsafe home for whatever reason, no party is under a legal obligation to move out prior to the beginning of the divorce proceeding.

If you are experiencing difficulties in your marriage, or simply wish to become more informed about the process of divorce and child custody disputes in Alabama, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The family law attorneys at Parkman and White, LLC have a wealth of knowledge about these and other matters. Although it can be difficult to “get lawyers involved,” speaking with an attorney early in the process can help to protect rights you currently have with regard to divorce, equitable distribution, and child custody. More importantly, it can help you avoid decisions that may unknowingly waive or otherwise reduce your rights to full custody, partial custody, or possession of the marital home.