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To Stay or Not to Stay

December 11, 2023

If you’re facing a divorce, you’re likely experiencing some challenges at home, and you may be agonizing over whether you should stay in the family home or move out while the divorce is pending. If you are facing this difficult choice, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach is to carefully consider your unique circumstances and make the right decision for you and your children. One of the most important moves you can make, however, is consulting with an experienced family law attorney– who serves the Virginia, Maryland, and DC area – early in the process.

Custody Attorney Today

Virginia, Maryland, and DC all have similar but distinct separation requirements that couples must abide by in order to obtain no-fault divorces. You should know, however, that doing so can directly affect your child custody terms and even the division of your marital assets.  This is especially true of the family home.

The Best Interests of Your Children

When courts make decisions about parenting time, they look to the children’s best interests.  The court is guided by a set of best-interest factors. The parent who remains in the family home with the children may fair in the court’s eyes better when reviewing certain factors, such as

●The degree to which each parent has been involved in the day-to-day care of the children

●Each parent’s ability to tend to the children’s needs, including any special needs

●The degree to which the status quo – or the current living situation – is serving the children’s needs

The Role the Status Quo Can Play

Courts recognize that divorce is exceptionally hard on children.  With that in mind, courts generally try to disrupt their lives as little as possible. If the children’s living situation is serving them well, the court will avoid making changes. The status quo includes primary elements like the following:

●The children’s primary home

●The children’s school or daycare

●The children’s community (friends, extended family, and activities)

The spouse who leaves the family home may appear to be less involved in the day-to-day lives of the children.  This can impact that spouse’s parenting plan.

The Matter of Your Family Home

If it is important for you to keep the family home, moving out during separation is unlikely to bolster your position. If your divorcing spouse can show that the children are doing well in the family home and that they can ultimately afford to keep the house, you may face some challenges to keep the family home.   When it comes to the family home or any other aspect of divorce, it is important that you set your priorities and take the steps needed to realize them.

An Experienced MD, VA, and DC Area Family Law Attorney Can Help

The trusted family law attorneys at Bourdon & Tortolero – proudly serving Virginia, Maryland, and the DC metropolitan area – are well prepared to help you pinpoint your divorce priorities and help you make decisions that support your ability to achieve them. Learn more by contacting or calling us at 703-646-8390 today.

Contact Us Today

If you have any questions about our firm, would like more information about our services,
or are interested in working with us, please fill out the contact form below or call

VA +703.646.8390
DC +202.975.0065
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