Justice Richard Dollinger

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Wife applied for “exclusive use and possession” of the marital residence during the pendency of the parties’ divorce. The parties jointly owned the residence as tenants by the entirety. Both parties presented contrasting affidavits of what was occurring in the home; wife alleged that husband had a violent temper, while husband alleged that wife was an alcoholic and manipulative. Both parties also indicated their intention to purchase the home in the equitable distribution. The attorney for the parties’ two sons filed an affidavit in which they noted observing fights between their parents and characterized their home as a “very stressful environment” and “unhealthy”. The court first noted that a hostile home environment during a divorce ran contrary to the best interest of the children. Although the court also noted prior cases requiring violence or threat of violence to support an order evicting a spouse, the court held that social science had indicated that even verbal strife inflicted emotional harm on children. Therefore, despite the court’s inability to identify the perpetrator of the strife, the court ordered husband to vacate the residence based on wife’s provision of funds for his relocation.