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How will your living arrangements affect child custody?

Often, families are able to afford certain living accommodations and a certain lifestyle because both parents contribute an income that helps fund that lifestyle. As a result, many people see a drastic change in the way they are able to live after getting a divorce. You and your spouse may have been able to afford a relatively upscale home on your combined income, but now, you will have to downsize.

While the idea of living in a smaller home may not necessarily seem like something immensely difficult, it could have more of an effect on other aspects of your divorce than you may have imagined. For example, the court will closely look at your living arrangements when making child custody decisions.

Living accommodations and child custody

You may anticipate staying in your small apartment or rented home on a temporary basis during and after the divorce. You probably needed somewhere to stay until you got your affairs straightened out and never intended on a permanent stay. However, temporary or not, the court will still look at whether you have space for your children in your current accommodations. If your temporary home is a one-bedroom apartment and you have three children, the court will likely not look favorably on that arrangement.

Children need space to sleep, play and conduct other age-appropriate activities. If you have an older child, he or she may need a modicum of privacy. If you have children with significant age differences, the court may not feel it suits the situation for an older teen to share a room with a child under 10.

Child's adjustment

The living space itself is not the only factor the court will look at. Though the space may still allow your children room to sleep and play, the court will consider whether the children can adjust. If they are used to having much more space, the court may want to determine whether the children will have any negative psychological impacts from such a major change.

Some of these details may seem unnecessary to you. After all, you plan to move into a larger home and ensure that you take good care of your children. Still, the court may not rule in your favor when it comes to custody if it does not believe the living arrangements fit the bests interests of the children. If you have concerns about how the court may view your home, you may want to discuss this topic with a Washington attorney.

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