If I let my estranged wife come stay with me for the last 6 months and I am the only one on the lease, how do I evict?

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If I let my estranged wife come stay with me for the last 6 months and I am the only one on the lease, how do I evict?

She receives mail here.

Asked on December 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there is no formal separation agreement that gives you the exclusive right of possession, then absent a final divorce decree or other court order, your home will be deemed to be the "marital residence". Accordingly, she has equal rights to the renta unit; this is true regardless of whose name is on the lease.

If you have a legal separation agreement that gives you sole possession of the premises, then it will not be deemed to be the marital residence. Therefore, she will either legally be a "tenant" (an occupant who pays rent) or "licensee" (someone invited to stay on the premises for a temporary period of time).

If your wife was to have paid rent but did not, then you will typically need to give her a 30 day notice to vacate; if she was merely a guest at your home a 3 day notice will probably be sufficient. Either way, you will need to go to court if she does not leave by the date specified in the notice. If you ex is a tenant you will need to file an "unlawful detainer"; if she is a licensee, you will need to file for an "ejectment". At such point as a court issues you a "writ of possession", you can have a sheriff remove her if she fails to vacate voluntarily.

Finally, under no circumstances try to remove her yourself through self-help measures such a changing the locks, removing her belongings, etc. Just leave the matter to the courts.

At this point, you should consult with an attorney in your area who handles such cases.


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