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Couples in Illinois often still live together when one spouse files for divorce. Many reasons, including the financial impact of maintaining two households, compel them to continue living together while the divorce process is underway. However, divorces can be conflict-ridden, and living together may prove impossible.
Spouses who find themselves in this situation but dislike the idea of leaving their children or fear the repercussions of leaving the home may wonder what to do. Can one spouse force the other to leave the home? Will leaving the home impact a court’s future decisions about parenting time or asset division? Understanding how Illinois law addresses these situations is important for making decisions about your future.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act does allow for one spouse to ask the Court to require the other spouse to leave the marital home. This allows the remaining spouse to have what is known as “exclusive possession of the marital residence.” Such a requirement is only temporary while the divorce is ongoing. It does not mean that the spouse who is required to leave may never live in the house again or that they will not be awarded the house during the asset division process.
Requiring one spouse to leave the home can only happen after a hearing in which the court will consider the circumstances surrounding the divorce and whether the spouses continuing to live together poses a threat to the mental or physical well-being of the spouses or their children. Situations involving domestic violence may give the court reason to issue an Order of Protection, which can prevent an abusive spouse from accessing the marital home for up to two years.
Throughout the divorce process, Illinois courts do their best to maintain the status quo, especially for the well-being of the children. Judges generally try to keep the children in the marital home, meaning that whichever parent is primarily responsible for facilitating the children's everyday lives will likely be the parent who remains in the home. Such an effort to preserve stability for the children could potentially impact future parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities. However, courts will also make decisions based on whether one spouse can afford to maintain the mortgage or rent payments alone.
An experienced Illinois family law attorney can help you understand whether moving out would be advantageous to your divorce procedure. If you are considering divorce and facing the prospect of moving out of your marital home, speak with an experienced Hinsdale, IL divorce attorney at Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio before making any decisions. We will explain your options under Illinois law in a clear and comprehensive way so you can make intelligent choices about your future. Call us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation at 630-920-8855.