Divorces can be complicated, even in the beginning stages. Once you serve the other spouse with divorce papers, it’s on. You and your spouse may not be able to get along with each other anymore. There may be extreme conflict.
On top of that, you and your spouse will likely be forced to stay in the same home together during the divorce. That is right — under Michigan law, the court will not require anyone to move out. That is because the court does not like it when marital assets are wasted. Even though the parties will have to live separately at some point — like when the divorce has been finalized — a divorce could still take many months or even longer than a year to be finalized. Housing is expensive, and that is a lot of money that could be wasted in the meantime.
If the marital home is the legal residence of both spouses, which is often the case in marriage, one spouse cannot kick the other out of the house. Also, if one of the spouses leaves the home for a short period of time, the spouse remaining in the home cannot have the locks changed, nor can they refuse to let the other spouse back into the home.
When it comes to having to stay in the same home as your spouse, there are only a couple of exceptions to the rule. One is if there is domestic violence at play. If you are being physically abused by your spouse, the judge will typically order one person to leave the home. If there are children in the home, the abuser will often be ordered to leave.
Another exception is if one of the spouses has found a new residence. If one spouse has moved out of the marital home and has a new place to live, the spouse who is still living in the marital home may be able to get an Order of Exclusive Occupancy from the court. This will prevent the other spouse from entering the property anytime they want. Since they have their own home now, the spouse residing in the property is entitled to have privacy and a sense of normalcy.
In the absence of these exceptions, you and your spouse will have to live together while the divorce is in progress. No, this won’t be fun. However, there are benefits to this agreement. If you have children, they will benefit from greater stability. You will have the opportunity to have the home appraised and inspected before selling. Being together in the same house can also help you financially. You can save up money and prepare a budget for your post-divorce living arrangements.
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Each state has its own divorce laws. In Michigan, both parties can stay in the marital home, and it is actually preferred by the court, which may not be the outcome you desire.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can help you understand your legal rights while divorcing in Michigan. Call (248) 646-7980 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.