The Family Home During a Divorce Proceedings
The marital residence, or family home, can prove to be a major point of contention during divorce proceedings. Indeed, the family home can be an immediate hot spot the moment a divorce case commences.
With this in mind, it is important for a person heading towards or in the midst of a divorce to understand some essential does and don’ts when it comes to the marital residence. By paying attention to these points, a party to a divorce is able to avoid serious legal problems that can arise when matters associated with the marital residence are handled poorly or improperly.
Equal Rights to the Marital Residence
Absent a court order, or a specific agreement between the parties, both spouses have equal rights to the marital residence. What this means is that until a court order issues or an agreement is made, divorcing spouses must recognize the equal claim they both have to the residence.
Because the parties have equal rights to the marital residence, one party cannot bar the other from the property. As a matter of law, one spouse cannot unilaterally change the locks to the marital residence in the absence of a court order, or a specific agreement between the divorcing spouses.
Temporary Orders and the Family Home
During the initial phase of divorce proceedings, the court issues a number of different temporary orders. These temporary orders are in force during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Examples of temporary orders include those governing child custody and parenting time, child support and the status of the marital residence during divorce proceedings.
When children are involved in a divorce case, courts oftentimes issue orders granting possession of the marital home to the spouse who is awarded temporary primary physical custody of the children. The rationale is that permitting the children the ability to remain in the marital residence during divorce proceedings lends a greater sense of stability to their lives.
Protecting Your Legal Interests with a Divorce Attorney
The best course a person can take to avoid missteps when it comes to divorce related issues, including those surrounding the family home, is to retain legal counsel. An experienced divorce attorney will schedule an initial consultation with a prospective client at no cost.