Is it Ok to move out and leave the kids with my ex?
Moving out of the marital residence should only concur after a discussion with a PA divorce attorney about how to go about doing it, and what the effects would be. If you move out and leave your kids, it could have a substantial impact on any potential child custody or support award to which you may be entitled.
First, it can have a serious implication on any possible PA Family Court child custody award. By moving out of the marital residence or other jointly occupied home before instituting a custody case, it becomes less likely that you will receive a substantial custody award (i.e. shared custody.) This is because the Court tends to look at the current “status quo” situation when determining what the custody schedule should look like going forward, because of the belief that there is no need to fix what isn’t broken. By remaining in the marital residence, you increase the chance of a sizable custody award.
Additionally, moving out of a jointly occupied residence can have an effect on any support that you might be entitled to receive if you are married. By leaving the marital residence, it can impair your potential claims for spousal support and/or child support (depending on your child custody schedule.) Because moving out of the home, and out on your own will likely put you in a smaller place, at least at first, it could lead to a reduction in expenses and accordingly a smaller amount of child support or spousal support.
Finally, although it is unlikely, your ex could make a claim for abandonment. In order to make a claim for this, you would have to have disappeared maliciously for at least one year, for no reason, and without any part on the fault of your spouse. As long as you give notice, a contact number, and contribute to household expenses after moving out, a claim for abandonment would likely fail.
Of course, if you are the victim of abuse, then you should leave immediately. Contact a family law attorney to assist with the completion of a Protection From Abuse complaint to ensure your safety. In that case, if a Final PFA is issued, the court will institute a spousal support and/or child support order.
Moving out is a huge step, and should not be undertaken without consulting an experienced Mercer County family law lawyer about any effects that there may be. Contact us today!
Our PA family law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, Westmoreland County (Greensburg) and Lawrence County. Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning) Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Somerset County, and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.
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The statements in this section are based on Pennsylvania law and have been issued to inform and not advise. The statements are general in nature and individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here.