Can a Spouse be Forced Out of the Marital Home?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How will the judge divide our property?”


Imagine this situation: You are separating from your spouse. For the duration of your marriage, you have shared the same marital home. Both of you want to stay in the home; neither of you are willing to move out, even though you have separated and initiated a divorce proceeding. What do you do in this situation? Can one spouse be forced from the marital home and leave the other with the sole possession of the home? In North Carolina, the answer to those questions are “it depends.” There are certain circumstances and situations in which a spouse can be forced out of the marital home. However, there are requirements that must be met in order to succeed.


Ejection-seat-Charlotte-Lake-Norman-Monroe-Divorce-Lawyer-300x225No Fault Divorces


In North Carolina, one does not require fault allegations to obtain a divorce. The idea behind this is to allow those who are unhappy to be able to leave a marriage, without requiring some type of fault to obtain a divorce. North Carolina does require that there be separation for a year before a divorce can be obtained. Therefore, it can become very important to establish that there has been separation between you and your spouse, which can become difficult if your spouse will not leave the home.


Removing a Spouse from the Home


In general, North Carolina is in favor of marriage and spouses remaining together, as evidenced by the year separation requirement. However, there are steps that can be taken to try and remove a spouse from the marital home. There is no “official” ruling by North Carolina courts that outlines living arrangements of soon to be ex-spouses, but there are ways to remove a spouse.


  • Negotiate with Your Spouse: The easiest method of removing a spouse from the marital home is by simply making an agreement with your spouse. It is best to involve attorneys in making this agreement so that an enforceable contract can be entered into and both parties know their duties and obligations.
  • Domestic Violence: A married individual is able to seek a protective order against a spouse if that spouse has engaged in acts of domestic violence. Domestic violence includes assaults, threats, or harassment. If a protective order is issued against your spouse, he or she will be unable to reside in the marital home with you or be around you at all. This is not a permanent fix for removing a spouse from the marital home, but is important to know in case you are suffering from domestic violence.


The above two methods are the most common ways to remove a spouse from the marital home. There may be other methods and strategies that your divorce attorney can recommend. The divorce attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here to help you with your divorce. We know that obtaining a divorce in North Carolina can be difficult and want to help you obtain one as easily as possible. We can help you strategize on how to have the only legal claim to the marital property. Contact us today to get the help you are looking for. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe (by appointment only until 2019), please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.





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