When Pennsylvania couples decide to get a divorce, one spouse usually leaves the house. However, divorcing spouses may remain in the same house before the divorce is finalized if they choose. Unless there is a court order to vacate, one spouse cannot force the other spouse to move out while a divorce is ongoing.
If a divorcing couple has children, the parent who is the primary caregiver may want to stay in the house with the children. Even if the other parent agrees to move out, it is important that the decision to leave the marital home is not made hastily. A divorcing parent may want to file a motion to appoint a guardian ad litem who will evaluate the children and make suggestions about living arrangements to a judge. A GAL may tell the judge that no other adult besides related family members should be permitted to stay overnight in the house for two years.
A person who is going through a divorce should be very careful how they interact with their spouse before living arrangements change. If a divorcing person physically or verbally assaults their spouse, they could be forced to vacate the property by court order. To avoid allegations about aggressive behavior, it may be necessary for a divorcing person to have a recording device handy at all times.
When divorcing spouses are not in agreement about who should stay in the marital home after the divorce, one spouse's decision to move out could be a mistake. A judge may view the living arrangements at the time of divorce as the status quo and make the living arrangements permanent in the divorce decree. An attorney may be able to help an individual who is facing the end of a marriage to determine whether or not to move out.