Joe and Cindy have been married for 12 years. They have two kids, ages 6 and 10, and bought a 3-bedroom ranch in a western suburb of Boston seven years ago. They have since remodeled, adding a porch, a car port, and expanding and redesigning the kitchen. However, they started having marital problems two years ago, as Joe spent more and more time at work and Cindy began donating ever more time for various causes, until both began feeling abandoned by the other. So Joe moved out of the house 10 months ago, months before they decided to seek a divorce, and now he finds himself angry at having to support his new home as well as the home he left, and feeling cut off at the same time.

Often the first spouse – in this case, Joe – to move out of the marital home is at a disadvantage. The spouse that remains in the home – such as Cindy – may have leverage as to obtaining more support to pay for the mortgage and support. The situation may worsen for the spouse who moved out in a case where the spouse who remained in the home seeks to buyout the first spouse, as that party will often delay to gain more leverage in negotiating a better deal. Often the process will drag on and the spouse who has vacated will settle for less to be able to move from their “temporary situation.” Other times, a better deal can be negotiated with a spouse who is unhappy (dare I say miserable!) to be still residing with their soon-to-be ex. However, the potential for a restraining order can also be a danger for a spouse who chooses to remain in the marital home during the pendency of a divorce. Bottom line – don’t make hasty decisions; your best bet is to discuss your particular case with an experienced divorce attorney that can advise you of the pros and cons of vacating a marital home.