Can I Force a Spouse to Move From a Family Home?

Arizona is a community property state so both spouses have rights to shared marital property. If you have purchased a home with your spouse and are living together, the home belongs to both of you. This remains true even if you decide that you want to end your marriage. A decision will be made during the divorce process regarding what happens to the family home and whether either spouse should remain in the house or if it should be sold.  

There is typically a span of several months between the time when you decide to separate and the time when a divorce becomes final and property is legally divided. During this time period, you may want to continue to live in your home but may no longer wish to live with your husband or wife. Unfortunately, while you may want to force a spouse to move from a family home, generally this will not be possible. Except in limited cases where abuse has occurred, your spouse has every right to continue to stay in the home unless or until a legal separation or divorce agreement says otherwise.

An experienced Phoenix, AZ divorce and family law professional at Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help you to determine what your options are regarding your family residence and what your rights are during divorce. Call today to speak with a lawyer who can help.

When Can You Force a Spouse to Move From a Family Home?

When you and your spouse decide to separate, you can make a decision together on whether one of you should move from the home. If a husband or wife does leave, the spouse who stays behind derives a value from continuing to live in the home during the divorce process. This is factored in when making a decision on dividing assets.

The couple will also need to decide who is going to be responsible for paying the mortgage and home upkeep costs when the divorce is pending. If both of your names are on the mortgage, you both remain legally responsible for the payments even if one spouse has moved out. This is true even after a divorce is finalized, unless the mortgage is refinanced into only one name.

If neither spouse is willing to voluntarily leave, you cannot force a spouse to move from a family home. However, if you can provide proof that your spouse was abusing you or your children, you may be able to get a protective order. The protective order, or restraining order as it is commonly called, can result in you spouse being required to leave.

It is also possible, under certain circumstances, to force a spouse to move from a home if you bought the house before marriage, have not co-mingled marital assets with the house, and have kept the home entirely separate property.

Outside of these exceptions, you will need to continue living with your spouse in the home if you both want to stay, or you will need to leave if it is no longer a comfortable living environment and your spouse won’t go. Leaving your home during a pending divorce does not necessarily impact your right to the house during the divorce settlement.  You are still entitled to a fair share of marital property, including an ownership interest in the home.

An Arizona divorce and family law attorney at Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help you determine if you can force a spouse to move from a family home and can assist you in understanding your legal options. Call today at (480) 418-7011 or contact us online to speak with a legal professional who can help you.

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