Exclusive Use and Occupancy

During divorce, tensions often run high, so much so that you may be tempted to bar your former partner from setting foot in the house. However, doing so outside the proper legal procedure can quickly escalate a situation beyond control, and could risk hurting your case.

If you're in the midst of a contested divorce, it's very important to consult with a lawyer first before taking drastic action. You could have rights to seek exclusive use of your home, or prevent yourself from being kicked out unlawfully. I am attorney Kurt T. Richards, and with more than 25 years of experience, I have seen and dealt with all types of tricky divorce situations. I offer candid, straightforward advice aimed at diffusing drama and protecting your rights.

So What Are My Rights When It Comes To Occupying My Home?

According to New York's domestic relations laws, the court has the authority to award one spouse exclusive use and occupancy of the marital home, irrespective of the deeded ownership, during a divorce. A motion for exclusive use and occupancy of the home may be awarded at the conclusion of a trial or upon a pendente lite motion, provided it can be shown that:

  • One spouse's presence has caused domestic problems and that spouse has established an alternative residence, or
  • Exclusive occupancy is necessary to protect the safety of persons or property therein. A hearing may be necessary for the court to decide whether the person poses a threat to the family.

Make no mistake, the law takes allegations of domestic abuse very seriously, and a motion for exclusive use and occupancy is one way to protect individuals who are involved in unsafe situations. However, any attempts to use such allegations for leverage during a divorce or custody battle can quickly turn the situation into a legal quagmire. This only underscores the importance of seeking experienced help first, before matters spiral out of control.

Don't Wait To Get Experienced Help With Such Contested Situations

Whether you seek the sole use of your home for your safety or you need help protecting your rights to live in your own home, I can help. Contact my office in Staten Island at 718-720-1000 for a free consultation with me to discuss your case.