Should I Tell my Spouse I am Planning a Divorce?

Will I have to move out? Can I make my spouse move out? What can I do to prevent my spouse from taking or destroying our possessions out of anger on finding out?


Will I have to move out? Can I make my spouse move out? In most cases, the answer is no. You both have the right to continue to live in the marital home until the divorce is final and the ultimate disposition of the home has been determined. Although you need to be separated to obtain a divorce, courts typically consider spouses separated when they have ceased sexual relations even though they live in the same home. Some couples choose to remain under the same roof while the divorce is in progress to avoid having to pay for a second household. When parents are contesting custody, they sometimes continue living under the same roof as some judges give preference to the parent with whom the children are residing.

What can I do to prevent my spouse from taking or destroying our possessions on finding out about the divorce? Sometimes, one spouse is so upset by the divorce that he or she clears out the house or destroys property he or she knows is valued by the other spouse. If you fear this could happen to you, your attorney can ask the judge to enter an injunction prohibiting you and your spouse from destroying or disposing of property during the divorce. If your spouse violates the injunction, he or she can be punished for contempt. In addition, here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself:

• Photograph or video the contents of your home just as you would for insurance purposes.

• Make an inventory of items that your own with their cost or estimated value.

• Save any purchase receipts or appraisals in a safe place.

• Remove the most valuable items or those that are particularly important to you and store them in a safe place. If your spouse does take or destroy property, you will have proof that the property existed so that it can be taken into account in your property settlement.


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