If you watch movies and TV shows where someone gets divorced, there is sometimes a scene where one spouse says that they want to end the marriage and that the other person has to leave the house. They might tell them that “all their stuff is on the lawn” and they have to get out immediately. And, in real life, people will often split up and not live together while they go through a divorce.
However, this may also make you wonder if it’s really possible to force your spouse to leave. If you’re the one who files for divorce, can you come home and tell them that they have to find a new living situation? Or, as is so common, are movies and TV shows just not as accurate as people assume?
The key to this question simply lies in homeownership. Most of the time, people will get married and then buy a home together. Some of them will buy a home together first and then tie the knot. Either way, both of them have their name on the deed to the house, and both of them have their name on the mortgage papers.
What this means is that they each retain the right to live in that house. It doesn’t matter if they’re married, if they are friends, if they don’t like each other, or anything else. From a legal perspective, someone who co-owns a home has a right to live in it if they choose to do so, and no one else can force them out.
If you want your spouse to leave, this means that the best thing to do is to have a conversation about how finding a new living situation might be best. They may agree to make things go smoothly, but you can’t force them. At the same time, always remember what legal rights you have and what steps you’ll need to take.