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Are You Entitled to Exclusive Occupancy of the Marital Home?

Big grey home

Immediately after you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, you’re probably still living together in the home you shared as a couple. If neither you nor your spouse has somewhere else to stay while you finalize your divorce and make more permanent arrangements, you may find yourself continuing to share the home for the weeks or months it takes to determine your next steps. While some couples are able to do this peacefully, others are unable to occupy the same space without immense conflict or even fear for their physical safety. Read on to learn more about occupying your home after you’ve initiated a divorce in New York, and contact an experienced Hudson Valley divorce attorney with additional questions.

Right to occupancy, regardless of title

Under New York law, both spouses have the right to occupy the marital home. Even if one spouse is the sole legal owner of the home, the non-owner cannot be kicked out of the home by the owner prior to some act by the court, such as awarding the home to one spouse as part of a division of property. Spouses who have somewhere else to stay during the divorce process might be reluctant to leave the family home for fear that they would need their spouse’s permission to re-enter it or that they would relinquish their property interest in the home. However, temporarily moving out of the house won’t cause you to lose your legal rights to the home. That said, moving out when you share children with your spouse could have an impact on your rights to child custody, so consult with an attorney before leaving the home.

Exclusive occupancy orders may be available

When sharing the marital home with your spouse pre-divorce becomes untenable, you may have a legal option to force your spouse to move out. In extreme cases, spouses can get the court’s help in obtaining the right to exclusive occupancy of the marital home even when their name is not on the title of the home. A spouse seeking exclusive occupancy would need to prove some valid reason for ordering the other spouse out of the home, such as evidence that the spouse has committed or threatened to commit abuse against the spouse requesting exclusive occupancy. An attorney can assist in the evidence-gathering process and filing of a request for exclusive occupancy while a divorce is pending.

If you’re in need of skilled, compassionate, and dedicated legal assistance for your New York divorce, contact the Hudson Valley family law attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for assistance, in Marlboro at 845-236-4411, or in Kingston at 845-331-4100.

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