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Michigan Family Law Blog

Can I Force my Spouse to Move Out of the Home if I File for Divorce in Michigan?

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Jan 10, 2024 | 0 Comments

Photo by Michal B on Unsplash

One of the problems with going through a divorce is that it is a slow process, frankly the Michigan legislature has designed it to be that way.  This means that many spouses must continue to reside in the marital home while the divorce case is proceeding and this can take months to years in some cases.  Many people have asked me whether this can be avoided, the answer is that it can in some circumstances.  This blog is intended to provide examples of cases where exclusive use of the marital home might be granted by the court, if you have specific questions about your own situations, please contact us to schedule a consultation, either online or by calling (248) 608-4123.

If the Spouses Agree, the Court Will Order that One Spouse May Have Exclusive Use of the Home.

There are some circumstances where the spouses will agree to simply allow one spouse to stay in the home and the other spouse will not use the home.  This happens most often where the couple or their family own a second residence that one of the spouses can move into without incurring new additional rent or mortgage costs.  One of the problems facing most couples that are going through a divorce, is that if one person moves out, then that will immediately significantly increase the parties expenses because of rent and other costs associated with the additional residence.  This is problematic in some situations because the parties cannot afford these additional costs or one spouse does not believe that the expenses are worthwhile and will not agree to use "marital funds" to pay for it.

In Some Situations the Court Will Order One Spouse to Vacate the Marital Home Even if the Spouses Do Not Agree.

The typical situation where the court will order one spouse to vacate the marital home is where there is a threat of physical violence to one of the parties if both remain in the home.  Usually the court will require more than just verbal abuse except in very serious situations.  In some cases where it appears that the parties can afford to support the additional residence, then the court may order one party to move out even in cases where it does not rise to a threat of imminent physical violence or harm.  Another situation where the court might order that one spouse move out of the home is where there is untreated mental health issues or where one spouse is refusing to take prescription medications as this can result in a very volatile situation.  However, in most situations, if one spouse objects to moving out, the court will be very leery of granting an order for the other spouse to have exclusive use of the marital home.

Another Short-term Solution is "Nesting".

One other solution that works in some situations is referred to as "nesting" and it is typically used in cases where there are minor children.  With "nesting" the two parents will rotate in and out of the marital residence while the children stay in the home.  Typically the parents will stay with a relative or friend or sometimes in a rented apartment when it is the other parent's scheduled time in the marital home with the children.  This can work in the short-term but typically it is not a long-term solution, usually the spouses will do this until the case is resolved and the house is sold or one spouse is able to "buy-out" the other spouse's equity.

Every case is different, if you are contemplating a divorce or separation, you should contact us to schedule a consultation through our website or by calling (248) 608-4123.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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