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

Asked on August 31, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 9 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. 


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