House/inheritance

My sister and her husband live in Grand
Rapids MI. They have been married since
2000. He is a doctor and controls all
the money. When they fight, he threatens
to throw her out of the house. She can’t
remember, but she thinks her name is on
the deed. He has the deed locked in his
safe deposit box. Can he throw her out?
Also our mother recently died. She has a
checking account in her name for which
he gives her money to write checks for
their children’s education, music, etc.
Should she start a separate account for
only inheritance money?

Asked on January 4, 2018 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) If they are both on the deed, he may not throw her out: no owner can exclude a co-owner from property jointly owned.
2) Even if not on the deed, she cannot be thrown out of the marital home by her spouse: a spouse cannot lock out his/her spouse from the home they shared together, regardless of who owns or leases it. Who must leave the home and who can stay in it must be decided in family court, in the context of a divorce proceeding.
So if your sister's husband throws her out, he will be acting illegally and she could go to court for a court order letting her back in.
3) Yes, there should be a separate account for money inherited which he has no access to, since her inheritance is NOT joint or marital property: it is hers alone.


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