When one spouse files for divorce, it often inspires a stressful-and sometimes even hostile-household environment. To resolve this issue, both spouses can work with their individual legal representatives to petition the court for temporary possession of the family home. Unfortunately, New York courts usually only grant temporary occupancy to a single spouse if there is significant proof of “domestic strife.” Because some degree of conflict is expected during a divorce, the court is often hesitant to award a single person possession of the marital home unless the other spouse has an alternative residence available. After all, it’s difficult to order one spouse to suffer financial difficulties because they have to rent or buy new property.
The court may award an exclusive occupancy order under the following conditions:
- A child is suffering from the stressful environment
- There is medical evidence of domestic abuse
- One spouse has an active order of protection
- One spouse is excessively drinking or using drugs
- Both spouses are lashing out and harming each other
Even if the court awards you exclusive occupancy during the divorce process, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically receive the property as part of your divorce settlement. If you wish to retain legal possession of this property, you may have to offer your former spouse assets of equivalent value.
The exception to this situation is if young children are involved. The court is likely to award ownership of the marital home to the custodial parent if they believe it will ensure a child’s general well-being and stability.
Retain Compassionate Legal Representation
At Peter L. Cedeño & Associates, P.C., our compassionate and experienced New York City divorce lawyers can help you navigate this complicated legal process and advocate for your best interests in court. We have over 20 years of legal experience and are incredibly knowledgeable about various facets of divorce and family law.
If you’re interested in pursuing an exclusive occupancy order, call Peter L. Cedeño & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1382.