If I moved out of our home can my spouse prevent me from moving back in?

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If I moved out of our home can my spouse prevent me from moving back in?

My spouse and I are not legally separated. I moved out of our house a year ago. The title and loan are in my name only. He pays all of the bills but the loan was recently modified. If I do not move back in, can I require him to pay the mortgage alone?

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, your spouse cannot do this.  Unless you are legally separated and the agreement states who has the right to exclusive possession and control of the premises, you are still a rightful occupant of the house.  This is true regardless of whose name that the title is held in.  Until you divorce (or a legal separation agreement goes in effect), the house is still considered to be the lawful marital residence. Therefore, each spouse has the right to live there.  Accordingly, you can't be prevented from moving back in.  In fact, if your husband tries to prevent you (changing the locks, etc), he could potentially be facing both criminal/civil consequences.  However, I would first speak directly to a divorce attorney in your area before doing anything. 

Note:  A court order for could be issued immediately to put you out of the house if you put your husband in fear for his safety by making threats, etc against him (however you did not indicate this to be the case). 

Right now, it definitely sounds time to speak directly with a divorce lawyer in your area. 


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