Chicago, IL asked in Divorce for Virginia

Q: I filed for divorce but my wife refuses to move out of my house. How can I legally remove her from the house?

I bought my house 5 years ago, we’ve been married for less than a year. She is no where on the house. I am the owner. I will be paying her ½ if the amount paid to principal for the length of the marriage. How can I legally get her to move out if I already filed for divorce. Is there a Set length of time she has? The divorce and house is in state of Virginia.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: For various good cause shown, a spouse can ask for exclusive possession of the marital residence as part of the pendente lite relief available in a Virginia divorce case. The public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia is to promote marriage, not to make divorce easy. Marriage provides a spouses with rights that can override normal real estate title owner rights. In the absence of a court order or a written separation agreement, a spouse would be well advised not to leave the marital residence permanently without just cause, or kick his or her spouse out of the residence.

Ultimately, if a spouse is the sole title owner of real property, that spouse can sell or mortgage the property without joinder of his or her spouse, provided there is no court order preventing the dissipation of assets. A non-titled spouse may have equitable distribution rights in any marital share of the property, but that does not amount to rights in legal title; those can only be realized through the equitable distribution process, typically with a money judgment or offsetting credit for that value.

Anyone going through separation or divorce in Virginia should consult with an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer.

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