Many parties in the process of separating are anxious to find out how they can get the other party out of a shared residence. For married individuals, a decision on which party will keep a marital property will not come until the end of the divorce matter and in the interim both parties retain the right to access the marital property. There are two exceptions to this general rule. First, a party may be evicted from a marital property in the context of a Protection from Abuse Order. A final PFA Order can remain in place for a maximum of three (3) years. The second way to have a party removed from marital property is through an application for exclusive possession.
Pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. § 3502(c), the court has the express authority to award exclusive possession of the marital residence to one or both parties during the pendency of the divorce. This provision was added to the law in 1990. Prior to that, the court had determined it had the authority to grant exclusive possession of the marital residence under the "full equity power and jurisdiction of the court" found at 23 Pa. C.S. §3323(f). This provision gives the court the authority to issue injunctions or other orders necessary to protect the interests of the parties. Laczkowski v. Laczkowski, decided in 1985, was the first case to hold that the court could award exclusive possession of the martial residence during a divorce. 344 Pa. Super. 154 (Pa. Super. 1985). In Laczkowski, the home was to be given to the spouse having physical custody of any minor children.