Many potential clients who are considering divorce wonder if they must continue sharing a residence with a spouse they no longer get along with. These potential clients wonder if they have the right to put their spouse out, change the locks or otherwise deny their spouse access to the marital home. In Georgia, since your residence may be considered marital property, it is generally not a good idea to unilaterally decide to lock your spouse out or deny him/her access to your home without permission from the court. This is the case even if the property is solely in one spouse’s name, or even if it is a leased or rental property. These potential clients should also be careful not to assume that if the residence was purchased prior to the marriage that he/she can deny their spouse access. Determining whether an asset such as a residence is marital property, which means both spouses can enter and or exit whenever he or she pleases, can be rather complicated. It is not as simple as considering in whose name the property is titled or the date of purchase. Georgia courts do no look favorably on those who deny their spouse access to the marital residence without a court order permitting them to do so. A spouse seeking to gain exclusive access to the marital residence prior to divorce should wait and request a temporary hearing once the divorce action is filed to address the issue of who will reside at the residence while the divorce is pending.
SO WHAT IF MY SPOUSE IS VIOLENT OR ABUSIVE? CAN I PUT HIM/HER OUT WITHOUT A COURT ORDER UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES?
If you seek to deny your spouse access to marital residence due to domestic violence, you should go ahead and file a temporary protective order as soon as possible. Under these circumstances, the court can order the abusive spouse to move out and stay away from the residence.
SO WHAT IF I’M NOT READY TO FILE THE DIVORCE ACTION YET, BUT I STILL WANT MY SPOUSE TO LEAVE OUR HOME?
If you seek to deny your spouse access to the marital residence and are not yet ready to file a divorce action, our office recommends speaking with an attorney to discuss filing a separate maintenance action with the court. Through a separate maintenance action, once can seek an order of separation from the court which will resolve the issue of who will reside in the marital home during the period of separation.
CONTACT THE FAUCETTE LAW FIRM TODAY TO DETERMINE YOUR BEST PLAN OF ACTION BEFORE FILING FOR DIVORCE
Determining which actions you should and should not take prior to filing for divorce can be very complex. Contact The Faucette Law Firm today at (770) 485-6633 and let us assist you in determining your best plan of action prior to filing for divorce.