During your marriage, the children live with you and your spouse in your family home. After divorce, they will likely live with you and your ex on alternating schedules, as most couples share custody. The custody order tells you when they should live with you and when they should live with your ex.
But what about that in-between period? Divorce can take months. There is a large chunk of time after you file for divorce and move out and before you get that post-divorce custody order. Where do the children live during that time?
They can stay in the family home
Generally speaking, the children can simply remain in the family home during the divorce process. For them, nothing has to change. Even if one parent moves out, they do not have to move or change their living situation.
After all, you and your spouse are still married at this time. You can choose to move out if you’d like, but you still have a right to go to the family home whenever you want, so you can see the children as much or as little as you’d like. You and your spouse will simply need to decide how things will work out in your situation. There is no custody order yet, so you have no legal obligations.
This means that your spouse cannot deny you access to the children simply on the grounds that you filed for divorce. If they believe that you would put the children at risk, they can ask for an emergency order, but these are fairly rare. Just being angry, sad or frustrated about the upcoming divorce is not enough. These orders are used to keep kids safe. If there’s no threat to them, there is no need for an order to protect them.
Granted, seeing your soon-to-be-ex in your home, with your children, may feel awkward at the time. But court orders are not used to alleviate the awkwardness of a marital split. You both still have a right to be parents and see your kids.
Setting up long-term custody
During the divorce, you work together and/or with the court to determine how custody should work long term. Be sure you know what rights you have at this time.