I want a divorce but my spouse refuses to move out. What can I do?
I hear this quite often for numerous reasons. Sometimes it is an affair. It could be an abusive spouse. Perhaps your spouse is addicted to alcohol, drugs or prescription medications. Perhaps there is a chemical or psychological issue. Often, there is a financial issue.
Especially when divorcing in Howard County, but elsewhere as well, separation and divorce, notably living in separate households, can become prohibitively expensive.
Whatever the reason, absent a voluntary separation, there are many ways to work towards separation and divorce.
Oh, and by the way, don’t even think about getting a divorce while still living in the same house, but on separate levels. While an occasional judge might allow it, the odds of it happening are thousands to one, and quite frankly, do you really want to live that life?
So, what are your options? At SIEGELLAW, our goal is to listen to you and create options that meet your needs.
1. If there is an allegation of domestic violence, you can petition the Court for the other spouse to be removed from the marital home. This option requires aggressive court action, and will only be granted after two separate court hearings. Proving domestic violence to the satisfaction of the judge is extremely difficult. At SIEGELLAW, we represent both those who have been abused, as well as those against whom abuse has been alleged.
2. Filing a divorce action and asking for exclusive use and possession of the home. Again, this requires court intervention. The vast majority of masters and judges, both in Howard County and throughout the State of Maryland, will rarely remove someone from a house if both spouses are living there together at the time of the hearing. It happens, but not that often. It is important to let us know all of the facts, so that the attorneys at SIEGELLAW can assist you in determining whether this is an option for you.
3. If the home is titled solely in your name, you may be able to file a legal action to remove the other spouse, as if that spouse was a renter, not a spouse. Again, in certain jurisdictions, this is a viable option. For years, judges in Montgomery County have allowed this option. In Howard County, not so much, but they will do so, on occasion, depending on the facts.
4. Here is a creative one. File for divorce and just before the hearing, move out and then ask the court to grant you a return and use and possession of the marital home. Sounds like games-playing? Yes! Can it work? Sometimes. Again, the specific facts are the key to crafting a winning strategy.
5. In certain circumstances, moving out is the best option. Even though it can be scary and expensive, looking to the future may be the best alternative. Attorneys at SIEGELLAW can help you strategize how to ask for alimony, child support or other relief to assist you in moving out, if that is the only way you will be able to move forward with your divorce.
As always, in addition to providing legal services to you, we will often make recommendations for other professionals to assist you. In this case, we have excellent working relationships with most of the real estate brokers in Howard County, as well as CPAs and other financial professionals, who can help make your plan for divorce work for you.