By Alexandra Junkin
During a pending divorce matter, the court has the power to award to a party the right to exclusively reside in the marital residence, otherwise known as “exclusive possession.” To be awarded exclusive possession of a residence the party must file a Petition for Exclusive Possession with the court. Unless both parties agree that that one will exclusively reside in the residence, and that the other will be excluded from the home, a hearing on the matter will then be scheduled before a family court judge.
A spouse should only be awarded exclusive possession if the other spouse has made the situation in the marital residence intolerable. For example, in the matter of Laczkowski v. Laczkowski, the court held that the plaintiff should be granted exclusive possession when she alleged that the defendant threatened her with violence, subjected her to a pattern of “mental cruelty and intimidation,” and excluded her from the family home. In addition, the plaintiff showed that her situation was not conducive to a harmonious home life and was progressing to the point where it was no longer tolerable for both parties to remain in the residence.
The party seeking exclusive possession of a residence should also demonstrate that the other party has an adequate alternative residence should they be excluded from the marital residence. In Laczkowski v. Laczkowski the court held that the plaintiff met her burden of proof for exclusive possession by demonstrating that the defendant was able to rent an apartment or live with his father should she be awarded exclusive possession of the marital residence.
At Raffaele Puppio, the skilled attorneys consider all aspects of a divorce case and have the experience to know what works for one divorce may not work for another. We will use every tool available, from arbitration to mediation to the courts, to resolve your divorce in the most expedient and humane manner possible.
Alexandra Junkin represents clients in all family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, and Protection from Abuse. She graduated from The George Washington University in 2013 with a major in Archaeology and a minor in Criminal Justice. She received her Juris Doctorate and the Leonard Levin Memorial Award from Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law.