Can I Remove My Spouse from the Home?
If you are going through a divorce, you may wonder if you have any recourse to remove your spouse from the family home. It is understandable to feel uncomfortable about continuing to share living space with a spouse from whom you are separated and/or preparing to divorce, but you may find it difficult to remove your spouse from your home without their consent.
Courts will typically not take any action to remove a spouse from the marital home—they leave it up to the spouses themselves to handle their living arrangements until their case is fully resolved. If there is a dispute over the marital home during the divorce, courts will typically order the home to be sold for spouses to divide the profits, or order one spouse to buy out the other spouse’s interest in the home.
Cases of domestic violence
Spouses are allowed to file a motion that asks a family court to exercise its “equitable jurisdiction” authority to order the other spouse to leave. At the hearing, the requesting spouse will need to convince the court there is valid reason o remove the other spouse.
In most cases, the only situation in which a court will agree to do so is if there has been a history of domestic violence. In such a case, the spouse seeking removal will need to obtain a protective order against the other spouse. That order will prohibit the abusive spouse from contact, and will ban them from the marital home, if they still reside there.
If there has been no history of physical abuse, there are some rare circumstances in which the court may grant one spouse’s request to remove the other from the marital home. Examples include if it is dangerous or damaging for the spouses to live together, if it is not in the children’s best interest for the spouses to live together or if it is unreasonable to deny the spouse’s request. There needs to be some highly convincing evidence in these cases, as it is the court’s preference to stay out of determining living arrangements.
For more information about protective orders and removing a spouse from the marital home, contact an experienced divorce lawyer at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.