NO! This is a common misconception. You do NOT abandon your marital property if you move out. If you must move out of the marital residence, you need to file for divorce to assure that you share in everything you have built together during your marriage. It does not matter whose name the asset or debt is in if it occurred during the marriage. For instance, credit cards in one spouse’s name that purchased household items or paid for household expenses will be shared by both parties. All retirement accounts, savings accounts, etc should be shared unless they are the result of inheritances. If you have decided to leave, make copies of past tax returns, account statements for retirement accounts, bank accounts, and credit cards. Take pictures of personal property that you leave behind that has significant worth. The concern about leaving is that your property may be destroyed by the remaining spouse, so take all you can when you leave.
The other consequence of moving out is that there are custody issues, including child support, as well as spousal support, that must be addressed immediately. If you wait to file for support, you waive your rights for the period you did not file. This can be significant. You can always withdraw the claim later, as well as divorce papers, if you reconcile. If you must leave immediately for safety reasons, we can arrange for you to return safely to get what you need. Call our office for a consultation to discuss your concerns. We can evaluate your facts, and offer a legal analysis of your best approach.