Either spouse has the right to live in the marital residence during a divorce unless there is a court order that specifies otherwise.
You’ve filed or plan to file for divorce. Now you’re wondering, should I stay, or should I go? The answer to that questions depends on whether you can tolerate living with your spouse during your divorce or if you think your spouse will move out.
Unless there is a Protection from Abuse order in place, or another court order granting one party exclusive possession of the home, either party has the right to reside in the house during a divorce. In fact, even if a party does moves out, he or she can come back at any time absent a court order.
If you and your spouse both choose to live in the marital home during the divorce process, it’s best to maintain separate living spaces within the house. If that event, respect your spouse’s privacy (e.g. don’t open his or her mail) and maintain civility. You’ll also need to determine how you will split the household expenses.
Regardless of which route you choose, don’t make the situation worse by resorting to self-help, such as by changing the locks or putting your spouse’s belongings out to the curb.
Usually the circumstances of each case guides who stays in the marital home. For example, financial necessity may require you and your spouse to reside together. Or, you may choose to do so for the stability of the children. On the other hand, a history of domestic violence would suggest that only one party should stay in the home. Frequently, one party ends up moving out early in the process into an apartment or in with a friend or relative.
The beginning of the divorce process is a gray area and may leave you feeling confused as to how to proceed. The best way to address these issues is early in divorce mediation. Mediation provides you and your spouse the opportunity to discuss and plan how to proceed. Your divorce mediator can also provide guidance based on your specific situation.