Many people make decisions and then act on them. It can be small items like choosing what to eat, but this inclination can also involve life-changing matters like divorce. So may make sense that a spouse planning to divorce would separate before the divorce is final, particularly if the marriage has degenerated into a toxic living environment. Since spouses share ownership of marital property, it is unlikely that you can force them to leave. However, you should leave immediately if you or the children are in danger.
Marital property is shared
Nearly all assets accumulated during the marriage are regarded as marital property and will get equitably divided during the divorce. Even if one spouse owned the home before the wedding, that or other shared assets like vehicles often become mingled, particularly if both spouses pay for the asset, maintain it, or even use it.
Notable marital property exceptions
Some exceptions do not become marital property. Common examples include:
- Money from a legal settlement
- Assets from inheritance, bequests, or gift
- Assets protected by a binding prenuptial agreement
- An asset acquired before the marriage
You may still get them to leave
There are solutions, even if you can’t legally force them to leave:
- Offer them a larger stake of another significant marital asset.
- Get a temporary order from a judge to vacate before the divorce is final (and assets are formally divided).
Finding a fair solution
If you can get them to leave, it is wise to have a lawyer write the arrangement. The circumstances of each divorce are different, but it’s also best to check with your divorce attorney before the spouse vacates. These early decisions can impact one later in the process, perhaps involving unfair or undesirable consequences.