How To Get Your Spouse Out Of the House
Wondering how to get your spouse out of the house during a separation/divorce? Read on to find out the intricacies of this process and the laws governing the eviction of a spouse during a divorce.
After you have decided to get a divorce, sharing the same living space with your former spouse can get very uncomfortable. So what happens in such a situation? What are your options if you want to evict your spouse from your house in Texas? The same rules apply to everyone who applies for a divorce in Texas. That are proper procedures and laws in place for restricting your spouse’s access to your house. To place a kick-out order, most Texas courts require a protective order, which is a serious matter in itself. A person seeks a protective order when there is more than hurt feelings and dislike involved.
In the following sections, we will discuss this matter at length, as we explore how the living situation is handled after divorce. We will also discuss the steps you can take to remove your spouse from the house.
Evicting a Spouse During Separation/Divorce
In most cases, courts might require the married couple to separate for a specific period of time before allowing them to file a divorce. This can be quite hard when both the parties do not have enough money to live apart. When two people at odds with each other are forced to live with each other in such a scenario, serious challenges can arise. In some cases, one of the spouses can also try to evict the other from the house. An eviction is something you must have heard often in the context of landlord and tenant. It essentially refers to the legal orders that state that the said person/entity has to vacate the property. It is harder to get this eviction order when the parties involved are married.
Eviction is already a tricky path to navigate through. It becomes all the more difficult when the house was purchased by the combined contribution of both the spouses. As per the rules of the separation period, even if the spouse did not help in purchasing the home, they can still continue to reside in the house. It has been observed in some cases when the couple tries to live together to resolve their problems, it can end up making the situation worse. Sometimes, a spouse can turn violent and abusive too if living together becomes too much of a stress. In this case, a kick-out order can be issued to evict the spouse from the house, even if they are the sole owner.
The rules of keeping the house after the settlement of divorce are different. Having a spouse evicted during the separation period does not mean that the person who doesn’t own the house will get to keep it. Separation, divorce, and eviction are very sensitive issues, which is why it is best to get legal advice from an expert in Texas. The lawyer will not only clear all your doubts about your specific situation, but they will also help you in filing for an emergency protection or eviction order.
How is the living situation determined after filing for divorce?
After you have filed for a divorce in Texas, one of the major issues that need some clarification is the living situation. If both the parties do not agree on the living situation, the Texas court might hold a hearing for temporary orders. This is done to clarify a number of questions –
- Where do both the parties live?
- Which of the two spouses pays for the mortgage, credit cards, car payments, utilities, etc.?
- Who gets the possession of which vehicles?
- What will the possession schedule for children be like?
- Determination of temporary child support or spousal support.
- Who will be responsible for taking care of family pets?
After these points have been clarified sufficiently, both the parties would have to abide by the orders.
Possible Scenarios for Evicting Your Spouse from the House
So the living situation with your spouse has become intolerable, and you are thinking of how to get your spouse out of the house. There are some possible scenarios in which you can evict your spouse from the marital house. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
1. Evidence of abuse and domestic violence
Sometimes a person might experience repeated incidents of abuse and domestic violence at the hands of their spouse. It would be useful to keep proof of the same so that a petition can be filed in court to evict their spouse from their marital home. The court might issue an order to evict the said spouse, even if the house is community property of both the spouses. To initiate the process of eviction, the person alleging the domestic violence/abuse needs to file a motion for protective orders or temporary restraining orders against the other spouse.
If an individual feels threatened about their life, then it is best to contact the police so that an emergency protective order can be issued. Although this will be a temporary solution, it will prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Thereafter, the individual can also seek a permanent restraining order against their spouse.
2. Marital home is a separate property of one of the spouses
If the marital house is a separate property of one of the spouses, then they can easily evict the other spouse from the space. This is because the other spouse would have no claim over the property or any right to use it. However, in the majority of the cases, the marital house is considered to belong to both spouses, regardless of who owned it initially. The spouse would have the best chance at successfully evicting the other if the house was bought before the marriage. In all other cases, it would get harder to gain an eviction order.
When the house belongs to one of the spouses, they would have to submit proof of evidence in court. They might be asked to bring the deed, title documents, or a copy of the Will. They can also show that the house was bought with their own funds and that the other spouse did not contribute to buying the house. The cases become complicated, however, if the other spouse was listed in the mortgage documents and deeds. In some cases, the other spouse might have also contributed to the mortgage payments.
Methods to Evict Your Spouse from the House
Here are some basic methods which you can employ to evict your spouse from the marital house –
1. Negotiate a settlement
One way to evict your spouse from the house without forcing them out of the house is through negotiation. You can negotiate an enforceable settlement with the other party to get what you want. The divorce lawyer can assist you in negotiating through a court order that will ask your spouse to leave the marital home within a specific period. If you are not able to convince your spouse to leave the home, you can work out the litigation with help of a lawyer. The primary goal of this exercise is to get your spouse to vacate the marital home within a specific time period.
2. Move out of the house and file an Equitable Distribution claim
Another way to approach this situation is by moving out of the house yourself. You can then file an Equitable Distribution action, wherein you can ask the Texas court to give the marital house back to you at a particular date. Although it would be a delayed solution, it can certainly work. In an Equitable Distribution claim, the court usually provides one of the parties exclusive possession of the property.
However, if you move out without sufficient legal protection and a Non-Abandonment Agreement, it can pose a problem for you. You can pose a risk to your marital claims, and the court might also accuse you of abandoning the marriage. It is always best to consult a lawyer before moving out of the house (if you are not in immediate danger). Besides this, it is not guaranteed that the house will be returned to you at a later date. In some cases, it takes months to get a hearing scheduled for Equitable Distribution. For these reasons and more, moving out of the house without planning or consulting a divorce attorney is not advised.
3. Domestic Violence Protection Order
If the other party commits any act of abuse or domestic violence against the other, you can seek a protective or restraining order against them. According to the courts, domestic violence is not only related to threats or assaults, but also harassment. In a protective order, the court might also authorize temporary possession of the marital home to the petitioner. There are some intricacies in this process as well.
If the protective order is issued without the presence of the other party, then a return hearing on the same is held within ten days from the order. If the court finds evidence of domestic violence in that hearing, the order will continue to stay in place usually for 12 months. This is not a permanent solution to the division of the property, but a temporary solution for the victim of domestic abuse. When any one party files an Equitable Distribution action, the court might decide to distribute the residence differently. This means that they can nullify the temporary order through which the residence was awarded to the petitioner.
The benefit of this method is that you can get immediate possession of the marital house. If you or anyone you know are in fear of their safety, it is best to seek a protective order immediately. It would be considered unlawful if one seeks a protective order just to get immediate possession of the house.
4. Civil Claim – Divorce from Bed and Board
If all of the negotiation methods have failed, your best option is Divorce from Bed and Board. This is a civil claim that can be filed against the other spouse before the separation. This was also known as Judicial Separation. A Divorce from Bed and Board is very different from a Simple Divorce as it is a fault-based claim. This means that the order prevails when the other spouse has done something wrong. Although the primary objective of this claim is not to remove the spouse from the marital house, it can be used for the purpose. To file this civil claim against your spouse, it is important to prove the following things –
- That they abandoned their family.
- That they kicked the other person out of the house maliciously.
- That they endangered the life of the other by barbarous or cruel treatment.
- That they made the life of the other person burdensome and intolerable.
- That they committed unforgivable adultery.
What will happen to my community property after the divorce?
Any property that is acquired or earned during the course of a marriage is considered to be community property. Separate property, on the other hand, refers to the property that is acquired by a spouse as an inheritance or gift. If you consider something to be your separate property, it has to be proved by convincing and clear evidence. Now you must be wondering if your community property is divided 50/50 after the divorce. Texas law does not require a 50/50 division of the property. As per the Texas Family Code, a “just and right division” of the community property takes place. This means that the judges can decide to divide it 60/40 or 55/45 if they observe –
- Bad behavior on either side
- The disparity in the earning capabilities of the parties.
- Grounds for a fault like cruelty, adultery, etc.
How can divorce attorneys help you in getting your spouse out of the house?
If you are in the midst of filing for separation or divorce, you should consult a divorce attorney to learn more about your options. An expert legal professional will have extensive experience in matters of separation and divorce. They will be able to answer any of your queries about how to get your spouse out of the house. A divorce attorney will also help you with completing necessary legalities, including the filing of documents in the appropriate courts. If you want to consult a divorce lawyer, call us today at the Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C.!