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Exclusive Use and Occupancy of the Marital Residence

Often times, divorcing parties continue to reside under the same roof during their matrimonial action. Most often, the reason they do so is that the cost of maintaining two separate residences is cost prohibitive. While this type of living arrangement can work when cooler heads prevail, other circumstances could compel applications to the Court, and warrant one party being awarded exclusive use and occupancy of the marital residence during the pendency of the action. In lieu of motion practice, the parties can agree that one of them is awarded interim exclusive use and occupancy of the marital residence.

Generally, the law provides that where one party has vacated the marital residence and has established an alternate residence, an award of exclusive use and occupancy to the spouse residing in the marital residence is warranted. Such an award is also proper when there is domestic strife and discord in the home.

If economically feasible, exclusive use and occupancy of the marital residence to one party can serve to keep tensions down and hasten a reasonable resolution to the matrimonial action. Conversely, if the parties need to cohabit during a divorce action, it is imperative that they do so peacefully, lest costly motion practice, and other more serious consequences (ie – Orders of Protection) ensue.

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