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Divorcing New York dads often too quick to move out

When a divorce is imminent, one thing usually occurs -- one spouse moves out of their New York City home and into temporary digs somewhere. Don't let that someone be you.

From a legal standpoint, the one who willingly vacates his or her marital home is at a disadvantage when it comes to ever returning. Many times, even if the wife is seeking the divorce, the husband is the one who leaves. Sometimes he does it out of chivalry or the desire to make some concessions in the hopes of winning back his wife. Or he may be too poleaxed to refuse her suggestion that it's better for the kids not to see them argue until they can work out their differences.

However, leaving a place where your name is either on the lease or the mortgage indicates to the court that having a daily routine where you spend time with your kids wasn't your first priority. You left, remember? She can choose to get a protective order from the court forcing you to leave. This opens the door for your plea to the court that you were willing to do anything within your power to preserve your family unit and see your children daily.

Make sure that the court is aware of your ongoing involvement in your children's lives. Remaining a positive role model who is actively seeking a daily connection with them is a good way to preserve your father's custody rights.

Moving out of your marital home creates a new normal that is very likely to wind up as part of temporary orders until the divorce is final. Should the court see this new arrangement as satisfactory, it could be made permanent in the final divorce decree. All of a sudden, there you are. A weekend Dad.

A secondary concern is that even if you have moved out, you may still be responsible for paying all the bills, especially when the wife's earning power is considerably less or she is unemployed. The court may see her job as taking good care of your children. So now you have a double set of bills to pay each month.

All this can be very confusing. Reaching out to a family law professional can offer you guidance and support.

Source: Huffington Post, "Why Moving Out Is the Biggest Mistake in a Divorce" Joseph E. Cordell, Jun. 19, 2014

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