When one parent in a married couple with children files for divorce, it is common for one of the parents to leave the family residence and establish temporary housing elsewhere. In many cases, the stay-at-home parent or the parent who serves as the primary caregiver for the children may be the one who stays in the family home in order to minimize the amount of stress and upheaval for the children.

If you have long worked a difficult job to support your family’s lifestyle, you will likely worry about the potential implications of moving out of the family home during a divorce. Some people worry that a temporary move could impact their claim to the house itself or even the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for their children as the divorce proceeds.

Abandonment, not just your address, affects parental rights and responsibilities

When Illinois family courts need to make a determination about how to split up parental rights and responsibilities, they look at a wide variety of factors. Where you live will have very little impact on the proceedings unless your ex claims that your temporary housing is unsafe for the children.

What will matter far more than your address during the divorce is your commitment to the relationship with your children. Provided that you continue to show up for visitation or parenting time, your spouse won’t be able to claim that you abandoned the children or the family home when you moved out. Even if you were the one to file for divorce, moving out is not the same thing as abandoning your parental responsibilities.

The courts just want what is best for the kids

While you and your ex may have your own goals and hopes related to the divorce, the courts only have one focus, which is the best interests of the children. Divorce can be a very difficult and strenuous time for kids, so it makes sense that the Illinois family courts want to do whatever they can to reduce the stress of divorce creates for the kids.

If one parent has substantially more parenting time, the courts may consider awarding that parent possession of the marital home for the benefit of the children. However, that person won’t just keep the home. They will typically need to refinance the property to pull out some of the acquired equity for the spouse no longer living in the family home.

Before you move out or take any specific steps related to your divorce, you should carefully consider the implications of those actions. Many times, getting legal advice before you take any legal action can help you avoid making mistakes that can impact the outcome of the divorce.