Living Arrangements During Pre-Decree Divorce Proceedings  

It is common for parties to live apart throughout the divorce process. Sometimes a spouse may move in with a friend or family member. Maybe the parties can afford rent for an apartment on top of their monthly mortgage for the marital residence. Perhaps the parties own more than one residence to begin with. Whatever the facts may be, it is safe to say that it is better to make decisions regarding living arrangements together, if possible. This way marital finances and obligations are accounted for and stress is minimized.

Some parties live together throughout the divorce process. This may be by choice or may be out of necessity. For some parties, financially, it just makes sense to live together until the divorce is finalized. Other parties may determine it is in their children’s best interests for them to remain together in the same household, of course, only if the parties can be cordial with each other.   What if, by living together, your spouse is causing damage to your physical or mental well-being, or that of your children, and they refuse to move out?

According to Section 501 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, specifically, 750 ILCS 5/501(c-2), if the physical or mental well-being of either party or the parties’ children is being jeopardized by both parties occupying the marital residence, then the court may enter a temporary order granting exclusive possession of the marital residence during the pendency of the case to one of the parties. For this to take place, a party must file a verified complaint or petition seeking temporary relief. Unless waived by the court for good cause shown, due notice and a full hearing is required prior to the entry of an order granting exclusive possession to one of the parties. When determining whether to grant a request for exclusive possession, the court will balance the parties’ hardships and if children are involved, the court will also look at what is in the children’s best interests.   Whatever your situation may be, it is always best to have an experienced attorney by your side.

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