Hello my name is Jessica Woll and I have been practicing divorce and family law for close to two decades. The job has taught me a great deal about human beings going through what is often one of the worst experiences in their lives. In my Blog I will share my client’s stories, while maintaining their right to privacy. I will offer advice, tips and insights based upon these stories. I hope that you find the information beneficial.
For my second posting I will briefly discuss the issue of whether you should stay in your home or move out during a divorce involving minor children.
Custody and parenting time: SHOULD YOU STAY OR SHOULD YOU GO?
I often get asked by clients who have minor children whether they should stay living in the marital home with their spouse and children or whether they should move out. The answer like everything with divorce is not easy. On the one hand children are like sponges and they can sense the tension between the parents even if the parents act civil towards one another.
We all know that it is not good for children to live under the same roof when both their parents are miserable so what should a parent do?
When faced with a client with this particular problem, my first inquiry is to determine whether the parties can agree on a parenting time schedule for their children once they no longer reside together. If the parties are hot to live apart and cannot stand each other they usually cannot agree on what schedule will work best for their kids.
If the parties cannot agree on a parenting plan, I usually think it is best for my client to stay at the marital residence until the parenting time issue can be worked out. The Family Courts in Michigan make divorcing couples with minor children wait for a period of six (6) months before finalizing their case and therefore the divorce process can only be expedited in limited circumstances that are beyond the scope of this post.
Sometimes an interim solution can be reached by going to court and asking the judge to come up with a schedule that enables the parties to reside in separate households during the pendency of the case. Unfortunately, this may not get the party willing to vacate the home the best outcome because many judges believe that children should remain in their comfort zone, which is the marital home until their parents are divorced.
In sum, in most cases I think in order to stay on an equal “playing field” when it comes to a good parenting arrangement, do not leave the home!!!! Move into a different bedroom or even the basement if you have to but do not give the other parent an advantage by leaving your residence if you can help it.
In order to deal with the tension of residing with a person that makes you nuts, keep the following tips in mind:
Best regards, Jessica Woll