Can I kick my wife out if I own the house?
Whether you can require your wife to leave a Florida house that you own is not straightforward and depends largely on legal decisions made during the divorce process. It’s important to understand that the ownership of the house doesn’t automatically grant you the right to evict your spouse, especially in the context of a marital relationship.
Marital Home and Legal Rights: When a house is considered the marital home, both spouses have certain rights to it, regardless of whose name is on the deed. This means that simply owning the house does not give you the unilateral right to evict your wife.
Court Orders and Exclusive Possession: In some cases, a court may issue an order granting one spouse exclusive use and possession of the marital home. This can occur during divorce proceedings or as part of a separation agreement. If such an order is in place, and your wife is granted exclusive use, you may lose your right to enter the property, even if you are the legal owner.
Legal Consequences of Violating Court Orders: If you try to enter the house or force your wife to leave after she has been granted exclusive use by a court order, you could face serious legal consequences. This includes potential criminal charges and civil contempt. For example, in the State of Florida v. Suarez-Mesa, a husband was charged with burglary for entering a property he owned after being restrained by a court order from doing so.
Extraordinary Circumstances for Forced Sale: In some situations, the court might order the sale of the marital home, but this usually requires extraordinary circumstances. The proceeds from such a sale are typically subject to equitable distribution between the spouses.
Consideration of Marital Assets: It’s also important to note that in the context of divorce proceedings, the house, like other assets, will be considered part of the marital assets and subject to equitable distribution. This process looks at various factors to determine a fair division of property, which may not always align with direct ownership or who made mortgage payments.
The decision to remove a spouse from a marital home is complex and subject to legal proceedings and court orders. Ownership of the house alone does not grant you the ability to evict your wife, especially if there are ongoing legal proceedings or court orders dictating the use and possession of the home. Legal advice and guidance are essential in such situations to navigate the legal implications and rights of both parties.
In situations involving marital property and living arrangements during a divorce, legal guidance is crucial. If you’re considering removing your wife from a house you own in Florida, it’s essential to understand your legal rights and limitations. Contact Shemtov Hillstrom at (954) 329-2222 for a consultation with our experienced trial attorneys. We can help you navigate the complexities of marital property rights, court orders, and the divorce process, ensuring that your actions are legally sound and in your best interests. Let us provide you with the professional advice and support you need during this challenging time.