Residents of Boca Raton, Del Ray, West Palm Beach, Florida, face a serious dilemma when a spouse files for divorce: should I leave the house or go? Leaving might seem like the obvious option, particularly if you’re angry, want to punish your spouse, or hope that he or she will miss you upon seeing that you’re really gone. Storming out of your house in a rage, though, is never a good idea. And even if you carefully contemplate your decision and decide to leave, you could be making a bad choice.  

First, You Need a Lawyer

If your spouse files for divorce, it’s common to experience a range of emotions, from shock to rage, to intense grief. You may even feel suicidal. These are not the ideal conditions under which to make potentially life-altering decisions. Much as it might pain you to admit, your spouse is no longer just your spouse; they’re also someone who is suing you, and you need to protect yourself. 

Talk to a lawyer before you make any rash decisions, and be sure to be honest and upfront with your attorney. If your spouse asks you to leave, explain that he or she had some time to think about the decision, but that the decision is new to you. Consequently, you need to talk to a lawyer first. As long as you’re still married and have no history of abuse, you have every right to stay in the house.  

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Sure, it might be more comfortable to leave the house, but it’s often best to stay. Though the law doesn’t explicitly argue that they should, Florida judges have a historical bias in favor of the status quo. If you move out, then, it’s highly unlikely the judge in your case will give the house back to you and kick your spouse out. Leaving could also disrupt your relationship with your kids, particularly if you don’t have a temporary custody agreement and your spouse tries to deny you visitation. And if you love your house and want to stay, there’s no reason to move out and endanger your chance at keeping your home.  

There’s also a cold, hard financial reality to consider here: divorce is not cheap. Particularly if you are concerned about a long and protracted legal battle with your spouse, now is not the time to set up a second household, with all the expenses that come with it. Conserve your resources now, and you’ll have more money to fight for your kids and the financial resources to get your children therapy if they need it to get through the divorce. You can always leave later, and by saving your money now, you give yourself the chance to set up a new household you’ll really love, rather than just rushing into the first apartment that becomes available.