First Steps


My wife and I have concluded that divorce has become our only option. She has a college age son from a previous marriage that has thoroughly and permanently destroyed our marriage.

We have three children together all under 10. Both of us would seek the maximum custody rights allowable.

If I continue to pay 70% of the expenses, I cannot afford a place of my own. Also, if I were to leave I fear I would be conceding rights to my children.

How can I safely and quickly get a separate dwelling place and get the separation/divorce process in motion without losing rights to my children and property?


I normally recommend that a father remain in the home at least until a custody arrangement has been agreed upon and outlined in either a Consent Order or Separation Agreement. Though a parent has equal rights to the children even after they move out, visitation and custody can become an issue after a separate residence is obtained due to the fact that the “out spouse” no longer has the right to enter the martial home once he or she has moved out.
I suggest you meet with a lawyer to begin putting together a settlement proposal with regard to custody, support, and property issues in the near future.


Thank you for your advice. I plan on following it.

What happens if we cannot come to an agreement on the terms of the separation agreement? Must I remain in the house with no recourse?


No, if things become unbearable you may of course move out. In the event that happens you will need to file a lawsuit for child custody and equitable distribution. The courts will then determine a property distribution and child custody.


Does joint custody of our children require a primary residence/parent be specified? Can we both be the primary parent?


You may have joint legal custody of the children which allows both parents an equal voice in the decision making, physical custody is different and there may be one primary custodian, or shared physical custody.