First Steps and Safety Precautions

Your first steps, aided by our advice and guidance, will include:

Living Arrangements

Either party can move out of the home voluntarily. If there are children, we will try to arrange a parenting schedule prior to the move and come to an agreement on any contents that will be removed from the home.

If neither party wishes to move out of the home, we will talk about how the home or the routines in the home can be adapted to accommodate both of you as a separated couple. For example, many people agree to a “nesting arrangement” where the children remain in the home and the parents follow a schedule as to when they live in the home and when they live elsewhere.

It may be possible to obtain an order for “exclusive possession” of the home. This can happen in instances where there is violence or if the level of hostility is intolerable and/or impacting the spouse or children. Excusive possession forbids the other party from entering the home. Only with such an order or on consent, can locks be changed on the home.


Call police if there is violence or threat of violence. In addition to coming to your aid, they will decide if a criminal charge would be appropriate and they most certainly will recommend that one party leave the home for at least the night.


We normally recommend that, to the extent possible, your household continues to function as it has up until the separation. For example, if both parties have traditionally deposited income to a joint bank account from which the household bills were paid, that should continue until we can make other arrangements.

Neither partner should withdraw funds from a joint line of credit without discussing it with the other nor should either spouse use credit cards to cost levels beyond the norm. It is wise to check your joint accounts regularly and watch for unusual activity.

Do not unilaterally freeze any joint line of credit or cancel credit cards used by your spouse without warning as this tactic is counter productive. For example, if your spouse uses a credit card to buy gasoline for their vehicle and has no way to pay for a fill-up, they are likely to be angry and focus any vitriol on you or others.