When to Move Out During a North Carolina Divorce

The decision to move out of the family home during a divorce is often influenced by emotion. During the heated, initial moments of a separation, it is not uncommon for spouses to storm out of the home with nothing but a suitcase. But moving out of the family home might have more legal consequences than many spouses realize. If possible, it might be beneficial to approach this decision with a little more care. If you choose the right moment to move out of the family home, you may experience certain benefits as you proceed with your divorce in North Carolina.

Moving Out Triggers the Date of Separation

The date on which you move out of your family home in North Carolina is your date of separation. The date of separation is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it affects property division. This is because all property acquired after your date of separation is considered “separate.” In other words, it will not be eligible for property division, and you can keep this property after your divorce.

Moving out may therefore have certain financial advantages. If you plan to make certain investments or high-value purchases, consider doing so after you move out. If you time this right, you could enjoy more financial security after your divorce. For example, you could move out, receive a bonus from your employer, and use that bonus to put a down payment on a new apartment. Because these transactions occurred after your date of separation, it is likely that the new real estate investment would be considered separate property. The same logic applies to investments that occur after you move out. You may coordinate with your employer to receive pre-IPO stocks after you move out. There are many other possibilities.

The Sooner You Move Out, the Faster Your Divorce Will Be

Another important consideration is the one-year mandatory waiting period in North Carolina. Essentially, all spouses need to wait at least one year before moving forward with their divorces in the Tar Heel State. But this one-year waiting period only begins when spouses stop cohabiting. This is the same as your date of separation. The sooner you move out, the sooner this one-year waiting period will begin. In other words, moving out relatively quickly will result in a faster divorce. Delays of weeks or months can make your divorce needlessly time-consuming.

Avoid Moving Out of the State

Although it might be a good idea to move out of the family home in a relatively expedient manner, you should avoid moving too far. This is because if you move out of the state, you may not meet the residency requirements for divorce in North Carolina. These requirements state that you must have lived in the Tar Heel State for at least six months before filing for divorce. If you move out of the state, you may encounter additional delays.

Is There Any Advantage to Staying in the Family Home?

Many spouses are intent on moving out of the family home for personal reasons. For example, you might want to get out of an environment that you see as negative. Moving out gives spouses the chance to experience a fresh slate. However, you might also be wondering whether moving out is truly the best choice. There may be certain advantages to staying in the family home, particularly in regard to child custody. Staying with the children in the family home might give you an advantage not only during your custody battle but also the fight for ownership of the family home itself. Speak with a lawyer if you’re not sure whether to stay or leave.

What if My Spouse Refuses to Leave the Family Home?

If both spouses refuse to leave the family home, this can lead to serious difficulties. One option is to pursue a divorce from bed and board, which can force your spouse to leave the family home.

Where Can I Find a Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for an experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous divorcing spouses in the Tar Heel State. The decision to move out of the family home may be influenced by a number of factors – including emotional, legal, and financial aspects. If you are wondering whether it’s the right moment to move out, consider booking a consultation with us first. During this consultation, you can discuss the specifics of your situation and determine the best option. Reach out today to get started.