Each spouse, unless ordered to do so by the courts, has the right to reside in the marital home until the finalization of the divorce. Such an arrangement, however, can be volatile depending on the state of one's marriage. Even those who are parting amicably may find it emotionally difficult to see and interact with their soon-to-be ex on a daily basis. Thus, it's not surprising that many spouses choose to move out right after, or even before the filing of the divorce complaint. While this sounds like a good way to keep the peace during the divorce proceedings, it may not be the best idea depending on the type of settlement you're seeking.
For example, spouses with children tend to stay together in the marital home much longer than couples without children. There are reasons for doing this, beyond preserving the family environment for the sake of the children. Generally, if there are disagreements over custody, such as who should have primary custody, you should definitely speak to an experienced divorce attorney prior to moving out. The problem with moving out in this case is the establishment of a status quo that may be difficult to overcome as the divorce drags out. The longer the divorce goes on, the longer the children remain in the marital home under the day-to-day care of the other parent. If the children seem relatively stable and content in that situation, it would be hard to argue that it's better to award you full custody, thereby disrupting their current way of life.
Couples without children have less concerns overall, but moving out can negatively effect their finances since they would have to manage on one income, along with paying numerous divorce-related expenses. There are also concerns over property division, especially the marital home if it's owned jointly. While you would certainly have a right to ask for the marital home, the voluntary decision to move out of the home would not be helpful towards that intent. Another issue is income disparity, particularly if you earn considerably more than your spouse. In that case, it's likely that the other party will ask for support support during the divorce (known as pendente lite). This could be a significant financial burden if you move out, since you will have to support your spouse, in addition to paying for a second residence.
It's important to note that there are just as many valid reasons for moving out of the marital home, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons, depending on what you are trying to accomplish in your divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you work through these issues, in addition to helping you file for emergent orders if you are dealing with extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence or the safety and well-being of your children. For legal advice on whether you should move out of the marital home, please speak with the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C.