It is always best to remain in the house. Once you voluntarily remove yourself, your spouse will seek a court order granting him exclusive possession of the residence, and allowing him/her to change the locks. While this order does not affect the title or ownership of the house or its contents, it does make it more difficult for you to get your belongings out of the house, and it leaves what may be valuable marital property in the hands of your spouse. Certainly, you should leave if you are suffering abuse, harassment, or intimidation at the hands of your spouse, and then you should seek an order of protection to allow you to return to the house and prevent him from coming on the property. Otherwise, it is best to remain in the house, and if necessary, you and your spouse should agree on separate spaces in the house.
Melissa J. Cooney, is an attorney at Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle where she practices primarily in the areas of estate planning and family law. Melissa has been presented with the Distinguished Service Award from the McHenry County Bar Association for her recognition of dedicated service and contributions to the citizens of McHenry County.