Can I keep sole possession of my house through legal separation?

My wife of 20 years is very ill with alcoholism. We bought our house together but she has been unemployable for the last 5 or 6 years. I fear with the stable roof over her head she will never hit her bottom. I don’t really want to divorce her but I can’t live with the drinking anymore. I have been clean and sober for the last 6 years. And I know through experience many alcoholics never get serious about getting help until they’ve lost it all. I have 2 sons living at home going to college and I want to keep possession of the house so that they can continue their education in this difficult economy. Could she be compelled to leave by doing a legal separation? My main goals are twofold. To stop living with the alcoholism and to help her want to seek help.

Asked on July 6, 2016 under Family Law, California

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is possible for you to be awarded the house.  Your argument for keeping the house is that you are (1) financially and emotionally stable enough to maintain and pay for the house and (2) it needs to serve as a 'home base' for your college bound children. 
You can go the legal separation route... or file for divorce and obtain temporary orders.... but not finalize until you are ready to do so.  Under either option, you can request that the court grant you exclusive use of the house.


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