Divorcing? 5 Things to Do Before You Move Out

Moving is a stressful event under normal circumstances.  It’s made even more stressful when you are going through a divorce.  It can be a source of real conflict between divorcing couples.  Here are five tips to help ease the stress of moving out of your home during a divorce and reduce conflict with your spouse.  

1. Take everything with you that you ever want to see again

When you decide to move out and your spouse is going to remain in the home, make sure you take everything with you that you ever want to see again.  Also, take a video tour of the home before you pack up and a video tour after you are done.  Once you move out of your home, you may never see the inside of the house or your personal belongings that remain inside the home again.  Your spouse may retain your personal belongings in exchange for a monetary or another type of asset exchange.  In addition, your spouse could destroy your personal belongings, throw them out, conceal them, move them to another location, or give them away.  Your spouse, rightly or wrongly, could even change the locks and deny you access to the home and your belongings.  Even if your divorce starts out amicably, situations can quickly turn south in a divorce case and it’s good to have your personal property items out of your shared space.

2. Bring some helpers

Having other people helping you move is good for a number of reasons.  First, they can help you move boxes and large items.  They can help make the move-out process faster.  The more people helping, the faster the move-out process will go.  They can provide you with emotional support.  Additionally, having one or more people helping you move will help if you ever need witnesses to help settle a dispute about which items you took and the condition in which you left the home after you were done moving.

3. Get it done in one day

Move your items out in one day.  If you do it over the course of many days, it could invoke further disputes between you and your spouse.  You may get stopped midway through if your spouse conceals your items or changes the locks.  If you put in a long day’s work and get everything out at once, you will be done with the process.  You won’t have to argue with your spouse repeatedly over personal property items.

4. Plan ahead

Pick the best day to move out and make a plan to get everything out as efficiently as possible.  One of the best times to move out is when your spouse is working, even if you have to take a day off work to accomplish that.  He or she will be occupied with work and will be less likely to interfere with you moving.  If you need a moving truck, rent it ahead of time.  Start as early as possible.  Plan to get the most important items first and move your way down to the least important items.  Have your helpers help you according to their needs and abilities.  If you have a helper who can’t lift much, delegate light lifting tasks to him or her.

5. Leave shared, unimportant items behind 

If you and your spouse share an item, such as a bed, unless it has significant meaning to you, you may want to leave it.  It’s less work to move and could save you a legal fight.  Even if you really want something, but you know your spouse will fight you over it, such as a television, leave it.  A new television will cost less than the attorney fees you would pay in trying to win the television back in a personal property dispute. 

If you follow these tips and try to make the move-out process as simple as possible, it will be less stressful and hopefully, not a point of contention in your divorce case.  Plan ahead, get help and prioritize what to take and keep, and you’ll have an easier move and transition into your new space.

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