Q: If I leave the house is this considered abandonment of my children?

A: Not necessarily. However, if you are concerned that you are going to be involved in a custody dispute, you should talk to an attorney before you leave the marital home, unless you feel unsafe there for any reason. If that is the case, just leave. The most important thing is that prior to or as soon as possible following your departure, you negotiate a custody and parenting time arrangement with your spouse so as to assure regular contact with the children. If this cannot be done, you should go to court and seek at least a temporary custody and parenting time order so as to establish a regular parenting schedule. This will minimize conflict between the parents and reduce stress for the children.