If you and your spouse still reside in the same home you shared during your marriage, but you are getting divorced, your spouse might want you to find another place to live. In some cases, it might feel as though your spouse is trying to kick you out of the house, or your spouse might have taken legal steps to remove you from the property. Can your spouse actually make you leave your home? In many cases, the answer is “no,” but there are some scenarios in which one spouse can remove another spouse from the marital home during a Michigan divorce case. We want to provide you with some background information and explain the types of situations in which one spouse might be able to remove the other spouse from the property legally.
Understanding Living Arrangements in a Michigan Divorce
Unlike other states, Michigan law does not require a married couple to live separate and apart in different residences before they are eligible for divorce, which often means that the parties do continue to reside in the same home before the divorce is finalized and property is divided between them. Remaining in the same home is often helpful financially, giving both spouses an opportunity to save some money and to budget for living in separate residences after the divorce.
As such, it is not uncommon at all for Michigan married couples to share a home—even if they are living as roommates and not as domestic partners—while the divorce is pending. In such scenarios, one of the spouses cannot simply decide that she or he wants the other spouse out of the house. If the marital home is the legal residence of both spouses, one spouse cannot kick the other spouse out of the house. If one of the spouses leaves for a short period of time—a few hours to a few days—the spouse remaining in the house cannot have the locks changed and refuse to let the other spouse back into his or her home. That spouse who has been unfairly denied access to his or her home likely will be able to call law enforcement to regain access to the property. However, there are some important exceptions to note.
Existing of an Order of Exclusive Occupancy
One of the spouses may be able to ask the court to issue an Order of Exclusive Occupancy, saying that only one of the spouses is permitted to live in the marital home during a divorce case. This kind of order can be issued in two general circumstances: when the other spouse has moved out of the marital home and has found a new residence or when there is domestic violence.
We will start with a situation in which one of the spouses has found a new residence. If one spouse has moved out of the marital home and has a new house or apartment, the spouse who is still residing in the marital home may be able to ask the court to grant an Order of Exclusive Occupancy. This type of order can prevent the other spouse from entering the property anytime she or he wants, making it difficult for the spouse residing in the property to have privacy and a sense of normalcy.
This kind of order can also be granted when there is domestic violence. A Personal Protection Order can also allow the spouse with the order to prevent the other spouse from entering the marital home.
Contact a Michigan Divorce Lawyer for Help
If you have questions about your rights to the marital home, our Michigan divorce lawyers can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today for more information.