When parents divorce, the issue of child custody can be one of the most emotional and acrimonious. Parents who settle things on their own make it easier for everyone, but, in some cases, the divorce might mean war. Some parents feel too stressed to make good decisions and abandon the family home and their children. Read on to find out what could happen when a parent leaves home with or without their children.
Should You Leave Your Family Home?
Unless you have a very good reason to do so, it might be best to remain in the home. Abandoning the home might mean disrupting the life of your child, and the courts take the health and well-being of a child very seriously. There are no requirements that you and your spouse physically separate, and a surprising number of couples work out a temporary arrangement for one spouse to move into a spare room for the time being. This type of arrangement provides both parties with time to make other arrangements and smooths the way for the eventual divorce.
Leaving Without Your Children
If you plan to ask for physical custody of the child in the future, it would be very foolish to move out of the home and leave your child behind. Regardless of the fitness of the other parent, moving without the child looks like abandonment and will be to your detriment if custody is challenged by the other parent. It goes without saying that leaving your children with an unfit parent is extremely dangerous. Parents have been known to use their children as pawns to force a parent to cancel the divorce and reunite. Additionally, the courts may be extremely reluctant to disturb a child who is living in the family home, attending a neighborhood school, and appears to be thriving. In other words, if you abandon the home and your children, you may not only lose custody of your children but lose the home as well.
If You Must Leave, Take the Children
If you have no choice but to leave and take your children with you, take actions to protect the situation. Speak to a divorce attorney about scheduling a hearing to request temporary child custody and to ask for temporary child support from the other parent. There is always a chance that the parent left behind could file first and allege you took the children without their consent or knowledge. A court order in place assigning custody to you during the divorce will help solidify your standing.
Speak to child custody attorneys for more specific advice about dealing with the family home and child custody.