Typically, when one person in a marriage seeks a divorce from the other, one of the parties ends up leaving the marital home willingly. It is common for one of the spouses to get a temporary apartment or home nearby until the divorce is completed.
A strange news story out of Texas brings up interesting questions for Floridians considering divorce. A couple living in a waterfront section of Taylor Lake Shores got into a fight. The wife kicked the husband out of their marital home and filed for divorce. The husband instead chose to spend months living on the front lawn of their home. Because the man’s name was on the deed and there had been no ruling by a judge, police were unable to make the man leave his yard.
Until the divorce was finalized about five months later, the man continued to spend most of his time on the lawn, largely living off of food brought to him by neighbors. When a judge finalized the divorce, he gave the wife full ownership of the home and the husband left willingly.
While this took place in Texas, Florida laws would apply similarly. Without an order from a judge, neither party has the right to deprive the other of the use of a jointly owned home. The same applies to leased property.
If you are in a situation where your spouse will not leave, you may be able to seek redress from a judge. A court can award you exclusive use and possession of your marital home. This would prevent your spouse from entering the property until the divorce case is complete, but would not change either party’s rights to the property. If you have reason to fear for your safety, you could also apply for a domestic violence injunction under Florida law. If such an order is granted, your spouse could be forced to stay away from you and your home.
If your divorce has become contentious, you need legal assistance. The St. Petersburg-area attorneys at the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras, P.A. help clients solve all types of divorce-related problems.