Sometimes moving out makes sense. For example, if you are the wife of a billionaire like Slavica -when-billionaires-marry-up Ecclestone and dear husband has already transferred his entire networth into your name allegedly so he can “evade taxes” and your gorgeous children are nineteen and twenty-four and living on their own in London, then you probably don’t need to fight over exclusive occupancy of the marital residence. You probably don’t even want it (you want to buy something in the South of France, thank you very much). But if you are an ordinary person like myself, then you want to really weigh whether moving out of the residence is in your best interest.
I mean, if you can afford to rent a place while the divorce is pending (I would not advise buying a place till you have the judgment) then by all means, why should you stay locked up in a toxic situation? I know one woman who was forced to stay with her husband while the divorce was pending (they had a 4000 square foot house) but he would grope her buttocks and get in her face, and make lewd comments and this was all stuff that could not be proven. Then he would take pictures of the dog’s poop on the floor (the dog was sick but he used this as proof that the mother was insane and he wanted to get custody of the kids (he wasn’t intereted in custody of the pets!) on this basis.) The woman tells me at one point her dear husband had the smell of feces coming through the central airconditioning vents. It was sick stuff. Of course, the judge hated the woman, so she didn’t want to hear any of it. She believed the husband and, get a load of this: she ruled that they should share occupancy of the home for two years!
Under those circumstances, if you can afford to move out, then you should do so.
If there is no order of custody, then you can ask for a temporary order of custody so you can take the kids with you. You want to take the kids with you. If you leave them, you jeopardize getting custody later on. Of course, you must be mindful that the kids usually go with the house. Whomever gets the house usually gets the kids. It’s an unspoken rule.
If you live in a “fault” state, then you also want to take that into consideration before you move out. What will be the grounds for you moving out? If you are alleging “abandonment” then you have a problem if you are the one who actually left the marital residence. If you are alleging some other ground, then maybe it doesn’t matter as much.
If you are the one who is the plaintiff (meaning you started the divorce process) then wait until you have filed the papers before moving out, if you do decide to move out and if you don’t plan on asking for exclusive occupancy. You can do it the same day, file and move out. But I don’t advise to move out first and then file.