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Does leaving my marital home affect child custody negotiations?

When you and your children's other parent choose to divorce, you face a number of very difficult decisions. Not only must you address your property division in the divorce, you must reach an agreement about how both of you will share the responsibilities and privileges of child custody. Unfortunately, child custody disputes are often where divorces truly turn nasty and require delicate handling.

Often, one parent may choose to get his or her own place and leave the other parent in the marital home with the children, to establish some space and allow all parties to process the divorce with some distance. While this does make a great deal of sense on a practical level, it may compromise the parenting rights of the parent who chooses to move out.

Judges determine custody based on what they believe is truly best for the children, and, in many instances, a judge may observe the situation and see two parents with unequal levels of involvement in those children's lives. In most cases, leaving the home before determining custody does not increase a parent's chances of equal, fair custody privileges.

Of course, there are some exceptions, and every family faces different struggles and setbacks during divorce. In some cases, a judge may see a parent who leaves the marital home and takes the children with them as acting in the children's best interests, and may reward him or her for doing so.

Be sure that you consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand your rights and protect the children you love before you make any major changes that could impact your custody privileges.

Source: FindLaw, "Getting Custody FAQ," accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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