Broken family after a bitter divorce settlement and separation with a couple in a bad relationship breaking a house apart showing the concept of a marriage dispute and dividing assets with 3D illustration elements.

As the pandemic stretches on, I’ve been doing a lot of early terminations of residential leases as part of divorces. It seems that some people who were “hanging in there” with their spouse are starting to reach the end of their rope. Perhaps these marriages would have lasted longer, but the pandemic moved up the expiration date on everything.

Many clients just don’t know what to do or how to answer when they are asked to move out. My first response to them is always, “Well, tell them they should move out. If they feel that the two of you shouldn’t be together, shouldn’t you be the one who gets to stay?”

That’s because moving out of the marital home is a big deal. The person who moves out loses a lot of power just by not being there — especially on day-to-day child care issues. That is why it is imperative to seek out an attorney to help you with a formalized move-out letter, and preferably, a parenting agreement before you agree to anything.

A formalized move-out letter most often states:

•it was a mutual decision that one of you should move out;
•thoughtful consideration was given to who that should be;
•the person who is moving out has the right to move back in at any time;
•the person who is moving out is not abandoning any of their rights; and
•the move has no bearing on equitable distribution, maintenance, custody, and visitation.

That document is signed and notarized by both parties. In an ideal situation, you also would have pulled together a parenting agreement to be incorporated and signed along with the move-out letter. If you cannot pull together an agreement fast enough, then one can be made at a later time.

In addition to protecting your legal rights, the agreement can protect you against your spouse reneging on promises. Sometimes this happens unintentionally, and sometimes with malice. The protection you get from the memorialized agreement works in both cases.

Please feel free to contact me if you have an impending dissolution or move out.

Cheryl Stein, Esq.
The Law and Mediation Offices of Cheryl Stein
745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500
New York, NY 10151
Phone: (646) 884-2324
E-mail: cheryl@cherylsteinesq.com