Do I have to move from the house if we are filling for divorce?

UPDATED: Aug 31, 2011

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Do I have to move from the house if we are filling for divorce?

Asked on August 31, 2011 Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless the divorce has been finalized, or temporary orders have been issued by a court that give your spouse the exclusive right and possession to the house, or you enter into a separation agreement that stipulates that you vacate, you are under no obligation to move out.  At this point, the house is still considered to be the joint marital residence. 

Be aware that if your spouse attempts any type of "self-help" such as putting your things out in the street or changing the locks, you could sue for unlawful eviction.  Additionally, this would hurt your spouse in the divorce proceedings.  The fact is, that staying in the house is the best thing (unless you feel that for some reason it would not be in the best interests of your children, if any). 

Note:  If your spouse claims that you have put them in fear for their personal physical safety, then they may be able to apply for a protective order which would result in your immediate removal from the residence. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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