In a Divorce, Can Your Spouse Kick You Out and Cut You Off?
In your heart, you know that your marriage is over, so why do you continue to stay? For some people, it comes down to simple economics. When your spouse makes a lot more money than you (or you have no income at all) and holds the household purse strings, filing for divorce can be scary.
You may be afraid that, as soon as you file, your spouse may kick you out of the family home and/or cut off your access to the funds you need to pay your bills.
Temporary Orders Can Preserve the Status Quo
You’re not the first person to ever be in this position, but nobody should be stuck in an unhappy marriage because they lack resources. That’s how temporary orders can help. Temporary orders address many of the issues that ultimately have to be decided in the divorce, such as who (if anybody) ultimately gets possession of the marital home.
However, unlike an actual divorce, temporary orders can be put into place quickly. The court generally aims to preserve the “status quo,” or make sure that nobody is suddenly thrust into dire financial straits or put at an unfair disadvantage by the other.
Some of the things you can ask the court to address include:
- Who may remain in the home
- Who may have access to which vehicles
- How the household bills are to be divided
- The continuation of any group health insurance
- How uninsured medical expenses will be covered
- Directions regarding the sale or use of marital assets
- A child custody and visitation schedule
- Any child support that may need to be paid
- Any interim spousal support that must be paid
- The payment of your attorney fees
If you’re concerned about your spouse’s reaction to the divorce request and think they may try to control you or take revenge through financial means, you may want to get some legal guidance. Discuss your concerns and ask about the options for temporary orders once your divorce petition is filed.
Are There Any Laws Preventing a Spouse from Kicking Their Partner Out of the Home?
Under the law, your spouse cannot kick you out of the marital household unless, for example, under certain circumstances, like domestic disturbances. And even in those cases, the law would eventually allow the spouse to return to the home under supervision.
The law will not allow spouses to kick their partner from the house regardless of who owns the house. Even if the house is owned solely by one spouse, it is still the other spouse’s home, and they cannot be forcibly removed from it during an argument or spat.
After a divorce, ex-spouses will not typically share the same residence anymore. After the ownership of a home has been sorted out in divorce court, the ex-spouse does not have the same rights to enter and reside in the home of their ex-partner. If the ex-spouses were co-owners of a piece of real estate property, that property would be divided upon the divorce.
If married couples could kick each other out of their legal homes on a whim, they would put a burden on homeless shelters and other taxpayer-funded organizations. And some spouses cannot afford to live in a hotel or get a separate apartment.
What if Your Spouse is Being Abusive?
Domestic violence is one of the 13 grounds for divorce in the state of Georgia. When allegations of domestic violence and abuse are made against one spouse in a divorce, all divorce proceedings are made secondary to the safety and well-being of the victims and any children in the household. In such cases, if you cannot encourage your abusive spouse to leave, then it is important to remove yourself and your children from the situation. If that means fleeing your family home for a time, that may be necessary, unfortunately.
If you have been struck or believe the threat of violence is imminent, please contact law enforcement immediately. Domestic violence is considered a criminal offense with serious punishments in Georgia.
Spouses can also file for a restraining order (also known as a civil order of protection) to legally keep their violent spouse a certain distance away from them and their children. These protection orders can last up to five years and do not require a divorce to go into effect. If the spouse violates a restraining order, they will face harsh penalties.
If proven, domestic violence charges will radically affect child custody and visitation rights following a divorce. The courts will always look to represent the children’s best interests in all situations, and if they believe it would be safest for the children not to be around their abusive parent, then the court may order it so. Alternatively, the court may allow limited visitation rights for the convicted domestic abuser, but only under strict professional supervision.
Do You Need the Help of a Divorce Lawyer?
While perhaps lacking in the eye-catching front-page spectacle of criminal cases or fraud, family law is nevertheless one of the most difficult and emotionally exhausting areas of the legal system that most people will ever be forced to endure. These are complex issues, many of which the individuals involved are too close to and cannot think or speak as clearly as they would like. And, when working against a combative spouse or a shrewd lawyer, it can be a lot to ask a civilian to represent their own interests in family law cases. For this and many other reasons, we strongly recommend that you consider retaining professional legal counsel for your case.
If your spouse has unlawfully forced you from your home or if you want to file a restraining order against that spouse, please contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation. Our compassionate legal team can also assist you with beginning divorce proceedings or engaging in mediation as needed. We pride ourselves in our small-town, client-first approach to our family law cases and would be honored to represent your interests.
Call our Atlanta law offices to schedule your free consultation at 404-418-7777.