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Will moving out affect child custody in a Utah divorce?

When a Utah couple with children decides to get divorced, one immediate concern is living arrangements. One spouse may insist that the other move out of the marital home. However, this could potentially have an adverse effect on the spouse that moves out when it comes to child custody.

Not many Utah parents would argue with the fact that one of the hardest fought battles in a divorce is over custody arrangements. Parents love their children and want what is best for them, and that opinion can differ -- especially during a divorce. Therefore, moving out voluntarily could give the court the impression that contact with that parent's children is not a priority.

Even if the spouse who remains in the marital home with the children claims that it will not affect how much time the other parent gets to spend with the children, he or she is does not have to stand by those declarations in court. If one party threatens to get a protective order to force the other party out, at least the party that left can tell the court that he or she did not want to leave the children, but was forced to by the other parent. Further, moving out and setting up a second household before the divorce could set a precedent that could become permanent -- even if it was only supposed to be at temporary arrangement.

If both parties are listed on the mortgage or lease, neither party has any obligation to leave the marital home if the parties are getting a divorce. When it comes to child custody issues, appearances can be crucial. A parent who stays in the home in order to be close to his or her children may be pleased to see the court take that into consideration when making a ruling.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Why Moving Out Is the Biggest Mistake in a Divorce", Joseph E. Cordell, June 19, 2014

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