In many marriages, the marital residence is the most valuable marital asset and often holds a strong sentimental value for the parties involved. Therefore, upon the dissolution of a marriage, the marital residence is often a disputed asset, particularly with respect to whom shall reside therein pending finality of divorce proceedings.
The time between the commencement of a divorce action and the final Judgment of Divorce can take months, even years to conclude. As a result, the first issue in need of determination surrounds who gets to live in the house and whether a party can be forced to vacate?
If the parties involved cannot agree on who shall live in the home, each has the option of making a motion to the court for exclusive use and occupancy of the residence. In order to prevail in such a motion, one must prove that the presence of the other party has caused significant domestic strife and that the other party has sufficient means to obtain (or has already obtained) a suitable alternate residence. In the alternative, one may also prove the need for exclusive occupancy based on the premise that it is required to protect the safety of persons or property in the premises. Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law Section 234, this determination is fact based and within the court’s discretion.
An award of exclusive occupancy has a significant impact upon other issues in the case including custody, visitation and other financial concerns. Therefore, it is a critical concern at the outset of any matrimonial matter for which an attorney should be consulted.
If you do require a motion for exclusive use and occupancy, the attorney’s at Keil & Siegel LLP are experts on the law in this area. We will accomplish your goals as quickly as possible and for the lowest price.