While going through the process of divorce, your marital property is still shared between you and your spouse. If both of you refuse to leave the family home before finalizing the divorce, it can lead to some awkward situations. This is particularly true if the divorce is hostile or contested. Is there a way for you to keep your spouse out of the family home before you finalize the divorce?
Are You Both on the Title?
If the two of you share the title of the home, then you legally cannot bar your spouse from entering the premises in most circumstances. He or she may have every right to be there. While most couples work out an arrangement, you cannot kick your spouse out of the home without taking the proper legal measures under serious circumstances. Even then, if your spouse pays any of the bills or utilities, he or she may have a case to enter the home.
Is Your Spouse Abusive?
If there is a history of domestic violence or if you do not feel safe with your spouse in the home, then you can file for an order of protection. While a judge will have to review your petition, your spouse will not be present. This is to protect you. Based on the petition, you may be able to receive a temporary protective order, with a hearing within 15 days.
When you have a protective order, your spouse cannot approach you. He or she will have to stay out of the home. At the full hearing, you may need to show evidence and have witness testimony about your spouse’s abuse. If the judge orders an extension on the order of protection, then your spouse will still have to stay away from you. If he or she violates the order or shows up at the house, you may call the police.
If you want your home to yourself during a divorce, you should always discuss your options with a lawyer. It is not always clear cut how you should keep him or her out. While some lawyers may suggest that you change the locks on the home, there are circumstances where you may not be able to. Likewise, you may still need to figure out who will pay the bills or if you should continue to share them.