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Do I Have to Move Out After Being Served Divorce Papers in NJ?

To learn more about whether or not a spouse can force you to leave the family home after filing divorce papers, read on and give our skilled Morris County NJ divorce lawyers a call today.

Is a spouse permitted to force the other spouse to move out of their home?

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.

Keep in mind that even if the family home is owned by one party and is not deemed marital property, the owner cannot force the other to leave.

Recognize that there are some exceptions. Under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a judge can administer a restraining order to block an abusive spouse from the home.

Additionally, the family court can present a request to push one of them to move out if it means that it would be in the best interests of any children involved. To make this possible, however, a full hearing would be required and the spouse requesting the order would have to supply the court with clear proof that the move would help the children.

What are the benefits of staying in the family home?

There are a number of benefits to staying in the family home if you and your spouse can co-exist peacefully while your divorce is in progress.

  • Custody of Minor Children

One of the most significant reasons not to leave is that the court might offer preference to the parent who stays in the home with the children when it makes child custody decisions.

If your plan is to be awarded primary custody or 50-50 joint custody of your children, then you should reconsider moving out of the house. By staying in the house, you will be in a better position to show that you continued to interact with the children as much as you can. If you leave and your spouse stays in the home with your children, then the court might determine that this is an arrangement that has been working fine.

It might also be an issue if you move to a residence that is not appropriate for raising your children. Even though you might think of it as temporary, the judge who must determine who gets custody might not take that into consideration.

  • Access to Belongings

Even though your spouse cannot make you move out, if you do leave, there is a possibility you will not be allowed to come pack. Your spouse may ask the court for permission to change the locks. If that happens, you might not have access to financial information and other important documents or even to any belongings you left behind.

  • Financial Consequences

Unless you can agree to live temporarily with friends or relatives while your divorce proceeds, you may have the financial burden of paying for two homes.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.