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What if my former spouse threatens me for moving out?

When you choose to divorce from your partner in a high-conflict situation, you and/or your children may vacate the premises immediately for the sake of your own safety while the divorce is processed in Massachusetts courts. Yet you still need to return to the home to pack your and your children's possessions to complete the process of moving out. If your former spouse is hostile to you or endangers you or your children, do you have options for support from the courts?

You do. Massachusetts courts can issue an order to vacate the marital home for up to ninety days. This legally requires your former spouse to leave the house and not re-enter it under penalty of law, giving you the freedom to enter and exit safely with your children and your belongings. This type of order can be issued if you feel that your former spouse is a clear and present danger to yourself or your children, whether through their behavior or through threats made toward you.

Most of the time this order requires three days' notice, but in the event that the danger to you or your children is immediate the court may grant a temporary order effective immediately and without notice. Your former spouse may have the right to appear in court to contest the order, but must prove that they are not in any way endangering or even threatening your safety.

Please use this post only for an informational reference and not as a substitute for actionable legal counsel.

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