Use and possession is a court order used when it is in the best interest for minor children of divorced spouses to continue to reside in the familiar environment of the marital home. Note that use and possession is only for the benefit of children and is awarded only to the parent who has physical custody.
An order of use and possession is effective for up to three years starting from the date of the annulment or divorce or until the party with possession remarries.
A court will order use and possession when:
- The parents are/were married
- At least one parent has grounds for a limited or absolute divorce or an annulment
- A child is awarded custody to either parent
- There is a family home
When use and possession is ordered, the court can also order that either or both parents pay all or any part of any mortgage payment or rents, any debt related to the property, the cost of maintenance, insurance, assessment, and taxes, or any other similar expenses that are connected to the property.
Use and possession orders can be modified if circumstances change. For instance, if the parent who resides in the family home loses custody of the children, use and possession ends immediately.
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