Question:  My husband filed for divorce. He had me served with the papers at my office. I did not know this was coming and he tells me I have to be the one to leave our home – with our children! He says this is his home.

NH: Do not leave your home. You don’t have to and doing so may jeopardize your ability to stay in the home later. Particularly with young children, it is important that you handle this issue correctly.  After service has been completed in NH, the Court will schedule you to attend a First Appearance. This is an information session that tells you about the Court process and allows you the opportunity to schedule a mediation. It is scheduled early on in the process to reduced stress and educate you on the system. In the mediation you will decide who is leaving the home and when. If the mediation is not successful, you will then be scheduled for a motion. At that hearing you can argue your positions to the Court about who should stay and who should leave leaving that decision to the Court. Of course, this is all general information. You should consult with an attorney for your specific case.

MA: Do not leave your home. You don’t have to go anywhere until a Judge tells you to do so – and with children, you have a great argument to stay in the home, with or without your spouse living there. In Massachusetts, the Court allows a motion for temporary orders  to be marked for hearing with ten days’ notice after the service of the summons and complaint has been completed. It is at that hearing that you can either compromise about the home or have the Judge decide what will happen during the pendency of the case. The final decision is made down the road. Always consult with an attorney for your specific case.