The meeting started in the usual way with a new client. When we met in our Virtual Law Office, he began by asking me some questions about our e-divorce service in New Jersey, what divorce consulting is all about, and explained why he and his wife are going to split up.
Then he raised an issue that did not surprise me, but we do not get asked very often.
“When I told my wife that I wanted a divorce, she demanded I move out of the house right away,” he explained with some exasperation in his voice. “Even though things are very tense now, I’m still here because finding a new place to live during the Covid-19 emergency and then moving is not going to be easy. Do I have to leave our home?”
It may be unusual for a couple to remain in the marital home or apartment together after deciding to divorce, but it is not unheard of. The fact is that a man or father in New Jersey can move out when a couple decides to get a divorce, but he is not required to do so. Nor can his wife just shove him out the door and change the locks.
Moving Out During Divorce is a Choice
The reason many men decide to find their own place to live during the divorce process is because of the tension and fighting that led to the breakdown of the marriage in the first place. Especially if the wife shows any of the signs of being a narcissist, moving out can be a huge emotional relief for the man.
So, moving out is a choice and not a requirement.
Family court judges seldom issue an order requiring one spouse to leave the marital home unless there has been physical or sexual abuse, or if the children are being mistreated in some way.
For example, we once represented a man whose wife had a serious drinking problem and when intoxicated would hit their children to the point of leaving bruises. When we were retained, we filed a request for an emergency order. The court not only directed the wife to leave the house, but it also said she could only see her children when she was sober and a social worker or a police officer was present.
The Right to Move Does Not End the Responsibilities of a New Jersey Man or Father
Even if a New Jersey man or dad moves out, the financial responsibilities he took on remain.
For example, if he was paying all or part of a mortgage or the monthly rent, that obligation continues. If his wife did not work and he was the sole support of the family, the court will expect him to continue providing financial help to maintain the life that his spouse and children enjoyed while the couple was living together.
So will creditors.
If his wife uses a credit card that was a supplemental card to his own account, the issuing bank will require him to continue paying the amount owed each month. If one of the family law attorneys at the Micklin Law Group tells him it is alright to do so, he can cancel the card and get a new one for himself. But he will be required to pay off the balance on the old account.
Finding a Path to a New Door for Fathers and Men in New Jersey
Deciding whether to move out can be as big a decision as getting a divorce itself.
If you are a man or father in New Jersey who is thinking about a divorce or you know someone who is, the team of family law attorneys at the Micklin Law Group can help.
Whether you anticipate an amicable divorce and feel our e-divorce service will work for you, or if want to proceed with the traditional divorce process, feel free to contact me.
The Micklin Law Group continues to work remotely. We are in touch with each other and the court using our digital infrastructure. If you want to talk about your situation and the options open to you, we can meet with you in our Virtual Law Office. We can also discuss your divorce by phone at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or at 862.245.4620 in Montclair.