It's Cold OutsideHas your spouse threatened to throw you out into the cold? Have they actually done it? If you find yourself out of your home trying to find comfort and shelter, or fear that you will find yourself in such a situation, follow the steps below and with any luck you will be warm and cozy before you know it!

  1. Don’t go back and if you have to, don’t go back alone- If you have left the former marital residence, or been forced or tricked into leaving, don’t go back unless permitted to do so by the spouse that remained in the house. This does not mean you have given up your rights to the house; it’s just that trying to return uninvited may cause more trouble than it’s worth. If you do go back, even with the express consent of the other party, you may want to take a neutral person with you to prevent any fighting from occurring.
  2. Do your budget- Ideally, you will have some idea of what type of budget you will have when you leave prior to actually leaving, but if you don’t, try to come up with one quickly. You may want to consult with a financial advisor or CPA to get some pointers on more than just the obvious expenses. Sure, you thought of the mortgage and utilities, but did you remember to include HOA dues and taxes?
  3. Ask for support right away- Hoping that the other person will just do the right thing likely won’t get it you the support you may desperately need. Ask, in writing, for the support you have determined you need to meet your reasonable needs and expenses. The emphasis here is on reasonable. There may be several expenses it would be nice to include but may be impractical under the circumstances, at least at the outset of the case. This would be a great time to consult with an attorney. An attorney can give you guidance on what courts deem to be reasonable.
  4. If you don’t get the support you need, file an action- Despite trying to be reasonable in your requests, the supporting spouse simply may not be willing to pay you support or pay the full amount you need. If that is the case, you should seriously consider filing a request with the court. If you wait too long, there may be unintended consequences to such a delay. Additionally, filing an action one day does not mean that it will be heard the very next day. You may have to wait weeks or even months to be heard.

As temperatures drop, emotions may rise, so keep a cool head, follow these guidelines and look forward to sunny days ahead!

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