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Can You Force Your Ex to Leave the Home?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Maybe your spouse did something so heinous, you can't bear the sight of her. Or maybe you don't feel safe with your boyfriend under the same roof. Sharing a living space can make a whole lot of sense, until it doesn't. But what can you do then? Do you have any legal right to expel an ex from a shared apartment or house?

Sorting out residency when a relationship ends is never easy, but there may be ways to at least simplify the process, legally.

Dwelling Diplomacy

As with many issues during a divorce or break-up, the more you can negotiate out of court, the better. It's probably easier said than done, but working out a mutually agreed upon arrangement with your ex can be quicker and simpler than filing papers and attending court hearings. Just make sure that both parties are on the same page and get any agreement in writing.

If you're finding it difficult to meet in the middle, or if discussions between you and your ex are downright impossible, hiring a mediator may help. Sometimes a neutral third party can get things done more quickly.

Ex Eviction

If your former flame refuses to vacate, you may have some legal remedies. While state law can vary, courts considering requests to remove a spouse from the home will generally require a demonstration of existing or potential physical or emotional harm. Even if the house is in your name, judges are generally unwilling to bar a spouse from his or her home, and would rather the couple sort it out on their own or wait until a divorce is final before removing a spouse.

Courts that are willing to evict a spouse generally do so on either an emergency or non-emergency basis. Emergency orders usually require you to prove:

  • You have a lawful claim to possession of the premises;
  • Your ex has assaulted or threatened to assault you or a person under your care; and
  • Physical or emotional harm would result if your ex is not barred from the home.

Other state courts may have more leeway when deciding whether an should be exiled from the marital home, but most are still reluctant to issue such an order absent an existing restraining order.

If you absolutely must get you ex out of the house, your best ally is an experienced divorce attorney -- contact one today.

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