What are legal rights in a legal separation?

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What are legal rights in a legal separation?

My wife and I are legally separated. She moved back in with me recently but it did not work out. She has been draining my account. What are my legal rights? Can I kick her out and change the locks?

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Family Law, Oregon


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you are legally separated and she does not have "color of title," then you can kick her out.  Color of title is when someone is on a lease or title to the property.  If she is on the lease, you can't just kick her out without going through the judicial system--otherwise you can be liable for damages and be charged with a crime from wrongful eviction.

As far as the bank account is concerned, once you are legally separated each spouse has a right to half of the community property, but no right to further income--because new income is separate property of each spouse.  So, she would be entitled to access the community bank account (funds accrued during marriage) and could take half of those funds.  If she takes more than half of those funds you will be entitled to a reimbursement.

If she took funds from earnings in your account post separation and those earnings were gained after the separation, then you are entitled to full reimbursement because those funds were separate property.

The problem here is the date of separation.  If you filed for legal separation at the courthouse, then everything I just said is correct.  If you simply told one another you were separating, then you "shacked up" again, then things are seriously complicated and you need to get an attorney.

Rip off the band-aid and file for divorce.  Figure out if she has a legal right to the premises (on the lease etc.) before kicking her out.  You may even want to call the Sheriff and have them ask her to leave.  That way you are somewhat protected.  When you file for divorce, seek reimbursement for any portion of your half of community property funds that she took.  Seek full reimbursement for any separate property earnings gained after separation that she took.

Best of luck.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

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