Living with a combative spouse during a divorce is horrific. Fortunately, in most cases, one of the parties moves out of the home at the beginning of their breakup. However, in some divorces, the parties continue to live together, and their fights tend to escalate. For those who want to put an end to the madness, filing a motion for “exclusive use” of the family home is an option.

Judges usually grant exclusive use of a family home based on one of the following three reasons:

  1. Where there is evidence of domestic violence or abuse.

  1. Where there is a high amount of volatility within the family residence.

  1. Where one of the spouses left the residence and established a new residence.

If one of the parties committed domestic abuse or violence, family law judges will not hesitate in issuing an immediate “kick-out order.” The standard temporary restraining order typically includes provisions requiring the restrained party to immediately move out and not come within 100 yards of the residence. Thus, filing a request for a temporary restraining order is by far the quickest and most efficient method to remove an abusive spouse from the home.

Absent evidence of domestic violence or abuse as defined by the family code, courts can also grant party’s exclusive use of the family residence where there is a high degree of volatility within the home, especially where minor children are present during the conflicts. In these situations, the tension must be so high it is causing emotional stress to one of the parties or their children. These types of motions need to be filed during the normal course of business, meaning the hearing will take place about forty-five days after the motion has been filed.

In some cases, one of the parties decides to move back into the family home after moving out. Their return to the home is usually met with a great deal of resistance. If the person who moved out has been gone for a significant period, the court will usually grant a request for the exclusive use of the home. Again, these motions must be filed in the ordinary course of business.

Out of necessity, it is not unusual for people to continue living with each other during the pendency of their divorce. These people often cannot afford to move out until the house is sold, which can be uncomfortable, especially when the divorce is taking forever to conclude. Unfortunately, the court will not grant exclusive use of the home just because a party feels uncomfortable. When forced to continue living with a soon-to-be-ex, we suggest living together as if you are merely roommates. Keeping your distance from one another and respecting each other’s privacy is key to survival. Also, it is highly recommended you refrain from bringing someone you are dating into the home.

Follow these tips, and your ability to start your new life with the least amount of strife will be attained.