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Exclusive Occupancy in a Connecticut Divorce

August 8, 2023

 

In the beginning stages of divorce, many couples wonder whether or not they should still coinhabit the marital home, or seek separate living arrangements. In most circumstances, it’s highly suggested that couples live separately as soon as the divorce process is initiated- especially if children are involved. Partner and Attorney Eric Broder discusses the topic of exclusive occupancy in our latest video blog and walks us through the process of vacating the home once a couple files for divorce. His insights are summarized below.

When A Divorce Action Is Filed, Does One Spouse Have To Move Out Of The Marital Residence?

Neither spouse must move out of the home once a divorce action is filed.  In fact, in most Connecticut divorce cases, it is more common for spouses to continue to reside together until the conclusion or very close to the conclusion of the case. Sometimes after a case is over, there’ll be provisions detailing how and when a spouse will move out of the residence.

Can My Spouse Be Ordered To Move Out Of The Marital Residence When I File A Divorce Action?

Typically, a spouse can be ordered to move after a divorce action is filed, but whether a court issues such an order will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. In Connecticut, a party can file a motion for exclusive occupancy of the marital residence. In doing so, they’re requesting that the court essentially order that their spouse vacate the residence immediately. The court will consider several factors in determining whether or not a party can be ordered to vacate the marital residence, most notably the level of animosity in the home. A court will also consider severe emotional abuse, yelling, screaming, and a really unhealthy atmosphere in the home in determining whether to order a party to vacate the marital residence. The financial resources of the party are also considered. Can this family afford to maintain two separate homes?

What Happens With The Children If I Am Granted Exclusive Occupancy Of The Marital Home During A Connecticut Divorce Action?

Once a party has exclusive occupancy, the couple will agree on a parenting plan stipulating when their child or children will live in what residence with each parent. If agreeing to move out of a home, it’s often advisable to also agree on what the temporary day-to-day parenting plan will look like. This gives the children some predictability and, more importantly, stability, knowing that even though one spouse is no longer residing in the home, they will hopefully see that parent on a regular and predictable basis.

Am I Giving Up Any Rights To My Home If I Voluntarily Vacate The Residence?

In Connecticut, the answer is no. It is still an asset of the marriage. It is still your home, financially speaking, so you’re not giving up any asset claim or, in any case, any liabilities related to that residence.

Do You Advise That My Spouse Or I Vacate The Home At The Time A Divorce Has Started?

In most cases, it’s best for one party to vacate the home as soon as a couple can agree on a parenting plan, provided both parties can afford to maintain a second residential location for the family. This can help reduce the animosity or the uncomfortable level of anxiety in the home if you live in separate places. Years ago, people might say, “Stay in the house and make that spouse miserable and they’ll settle quicker.” but that’s not really best for the kids, nor is that necessarily true. So it’s highly advisable to work on a parenting plan, find a suitable location, and try to move out and separate as soon as possible.

If you have questions regarding exclusive occupancy during divorce, it’s advised that you seek experienced counsel. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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