You may or may not have seen it coming, but you have now been served with divorce papers. In addition to feelings of hurt, confusion, anger, disbelief and a welter of other emotions stirred up by the service of divorce papers in New Jersey (NJ), a lot of questions are probably going through your head, including whether or not you have to leave the family home. If you are asking yourself that very question, please read on, then contact an experienced Ocean County contested divorce attorney today.
Does the service of divorce papers mean I must leave the family home in NJ?
In the state of New Jersey, neither spouse has the freedom to force the other to move out before the divorce is final. Once you are married, both spouses have equal rights to reside in the house until the marriage is disbanded entirely. Even in cases where one party is the sole owner and it is not considered marital property, the owner can’t force the other party to leave the home.
However, there are exceptions to this rule.
When do I have to leave after being served divorce papers in NJ?
Per New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a judge has the discretion to issue a restraining order barring an abusive spouse from the family home. In addition, the family court can grant a request to force one of the parties to move out if the family court decides that it would be in the best interests of any children involved. In order for this to occur, a full hearing would be necessary and the spouse requesting the order would have to provide the court with clear evidence that the move would benefit the children.
Why should I stay after being served divorce papers?
Believe it or not, several advantages come with staying in the family home if you and your spouse can co-exist peacefully while you process your divorce, including the following:
- Custody of minor children: You should think twice before moving out of the house if your goal is to be awarded primary custody or 50-50 joint custody of your children, because, by staying, you will be in a better position to show that you continued to interact with your children.
- Access to belongings: If you do leave, you may not be allowed to return, because your spouse may ask the court for permission to change the locks, which might bar you from financial information, other important documents and belongings you left behind.
- Financial consequences: Unless you can arrange to live temporarily with friends or relatives while your divorce proceeds, you may have the financial burden of paying for two residences.
If you have any further questions about whether or not you should move out, reach out to a skilled Ocean County divorce attorney as soon as possible.
Contact our experienced Ocean County firm
If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.