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I am separating from my husband, if I leave our home will I be putting myself at risk of losing any of my rights?

Ashburn, VA |

I have told my husband of 8 years that I would like a separation and I am planning on moving out of our home. So far he has been cooperative and we are drafting a property settlement agreement together. I have entered into a lease on a condo but have been wondering if moving out is in my best interest. I am concerned that I may be forfeiting my rights to any of the assets in the house as well as the house itself. Also, will the courts view this as abandonment and potentially reduce benefits as far as child support and custody? The children will be spending half of their time with me in my new place and half their time with my husband.

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Attorney answers 4


Generally speaking, if you move out of the marital residence on agreement it cannot be used against you as grounds for abandonment. If you are working on a PSA together, I would consider it to be in your best interest to have that signed and notarized before you moved out, to be on the safe side.
I would strongly advise you to consult an attorney, if you haven't done so already. Avvo is no subsitute for buying an hour of an attorney's time to make sure you are protected.

Avvo and the answers contained herein are to be considered general info and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by answering your question. Everyone's situation is different and for a proper answer contact an attorney of your choosing. Most of us are very nice.


This can get tricky and because it has such huge possible consequences you should really speak with an attorney before moving forward to ensure that your rights are being protected during this time.


First, - If you move out are you forfeiting your rights to the marital assets.? The answer is no.
Second - Will the Court consider this abandonment? In your case, no, because you have had a serious conversation with your husband and you guys are even working on a separation agreement.
Third ** MOST IMPORTANT** Custody- If you move out without your kids or without an agreement about the custody arrangement , then your rights may be affected. I am glad you guys are trying to work things out but if nothing is set is stone then he could easily just keep the kids at the house. so to follow the other responders' advice, get the agreement first.

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson

Deborah Ann Johnson Wilson


Further, if nothing is in stone, he can change his mind and charge you with desertion. In Virginia, deserton may be considered as a factor and circumstance leading to the dissolution of the marraige. Please consult an attorney to protect your rights before making a final decision.


This is a good question. Having a written agreement in which everything is clearly spelled out and clarified before moving out might better protect you in several respects, and would minimize the chance of allegations of abandonment. This addresses your question here, but please keep in mind that this is not the only issue that you should be thinking about right now with regards to the potential legal consequences of moving out and separating.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not and cannot be considered to be legal advice, nor does it signify the formation of an attorney-client relationship. It is merely general information that you should not rely on, unless we speak extensively in person and I explicitly inform you that I am giving you legal advice that you can act upon. Before I can represent you, I have to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest or other obstacles to representation; therefore, you should not assume that I am your attorney until we enter into a written agreement to that effect.

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