Forcing spouse to sell house and agree to a divorce

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Forcing spouse to sell house and agree to a divorce

My wife and I have been miserably married for 13 years. We’ve slept in separate beds in separate bedrooms for roughly 11 years, most recently 3 years straight. While we have 2 wonderful children 9 and 11, we otherwise do not have sexual relations and haven’t done so for well over a year and never more than a few times per year for our entire marriage. I desperately want a divorce but she refuses. We own a home together and she refuses to sell it and I won’t move out because of fear she would both destroy the house, one of her many charms, or the court would determine I abandoned her and my sons and I’d lose even more than I’m going to lose already. How can I cause her to sell the house and agree to divorce proceedings when she flatly refuses? I have very little money to fund a lawyer to give me endless advice or process copious amount of paperwork I could at least try to handle on my own. The issue here is she won’t cooperate at all eve though she is fully aware our marriage is in shambles and is wholly irreparable.

Asked on November 25, 2018 under Family Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't need her to agree to a divorce: she can't keep you married against your will. However, because she has not given you one of the recognized grounds for a "fault-based" (based on marital misconduct) divorce in your state, like adultry or cruelty, you'd have to go for a no-fault divorce, which starts with living apart for one year.  So start living apart now, and you can divorce a year later.
You can't force a sale of the house until the divorce; in the divorce, the court will decide what to do with it (e.g. force an immediate sale; or let one spouse live in it, with it be sold later (e.g.when children are 18) and proceeds split then; etc.): while still married, one spouse cannot compel the other to sell. So while you shold consult with a family law attorney to make sure you fully understand the divorce process, you also need to move out and live apart to start the process going.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption