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What to Do When a Spouse Refuses to Move Out During a Divorce?


Who should move out, and when, is one of the toughest choices a married couple faces after agreeing that they need a divorce. For two adults who made it clear that they no longer want to be married, it can be difficult to live together under the same roof, even for one more day.

Often, divorcees argue over who should stay in the marital home. Deciding who gets to stay in the family house during a divorce is a rather complicated matter, especially if either party is not willing to compromise.

Why Do Spouses Refuse to Move Out During a Divorce?

A wife or husband may refuse to move out because they:

  • do not want to make concessions to their soon-to-be-ex-spouse;
  • refuse to admit their marriage is over;
  • cannot afford to move out;
  • think they will lose their right to the house; or
  • simply want to bother their spouse.

But what does Florida’s family law say about situations when spouses cannot agree on who should live in the marital home during a divorce? Florida courts cannot force either spouse out of their own home unless there have been proven acts of domestic violence.

Can You Force Your Spouse to Move Out During a Divorce in Florida?

There are only two circumstances in which you can legally force your spouse to move out during a divorce:

  1. It is your own home that is not considered marital property (you purchased the house by yourself before the marriage); or
  2. Your spouse is engaging in abusive behaviors towards you or the children, or there are proven acts of domestic violence (in that case, you should seek a restraining order or an injunction).

Therefore, if (a) you and your spouse bought the family residence together or (b) you purchased the house during the course of the marriage, you likely cannot force your spouse to move out.

If your home is your separate property (it is in your name only, or the other spouse has made no contributions to the residence during the marriage), your spouse may have no legal claim on the house.

What Are the Legal Consequences of Moving Out During a Divorce?

Many people are reluctant to move out of their family home while their divorce is pending because they think doing so will cause them to lose their legal interest or right to the house.

However, do not be afraid to leave your home due to the risk of losing the house. In fact, a divorcee who chose to move out during a divorce may still end up with the home in the divorce settlement.

Although most people cannot force their spouse to move out during a divorce, it makes sense for one spouse to leave the family residence until their divorce is finalized. After all, divorce proceedings, such as property distribution and child custody, could take months until spouses are able to dissolve their marriage. Living together under one roof during this time can be uncomfortable and awkward.

If you cannot reach a consensus regarding who gets to stay in the marital home while the divorce is pending, consult with an Orlando property division attorney. Contact Donna Hung Law Group to learn about your property rights during a divorce. Call at 407-999-0099 today.