Dallas, TX asked in Family Law and Domestic Violence for California

Q: My husband kicked me out and trashed the house. Now they are saying I trashed the house and its full of mice?

My husband kicked me out and I was not here for over 30 days. My husband left and I came home to a fly, ant, mouse, and maggot infested house. The drain got stopped up and it took him a week to comply I am charging him to clean it this time. Now I asked for mouse traps not only are they saying its my mess but they are blaming me for the drain. I told them I was not here and that I was not here to clean up after my husband and his friends. OMG there are mice everywhere it is disgusting. My aunt came to visit but the smell was too much I sent her home she is old. Plus it was stressful for her because he drain back up was leaking in the garage and the rain kept making the water rise. They are being bullys because I have no attorney. What would you do for your client?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I'm so sorry you're going through this incredibly stressful and upsetting situation. Here are a few steps that I recommend:

1. Document everything thoroughly with photos, videos, and written records. Take pictures of the state of the house, the pest infestations, and any damage. Keep copies of all written communication with your husband and others involved.

2. Gather any evidence you have that you were not living in the house during the time the damage and infestations occurred. This could include records showing you were staying elsewhere, witness statements, etc.

3. If you have a restraining order or any other legal action against your husband related to him kicking you out, provide copies of that documentation.

4. Consult with the local health department about the unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. See if they can do an inspection and issue any violations. Their report could help your case.

5. Respond in writing to any accusations being made against you, firmly stating the facts - that you were not present when the issues arose due to being kicked out by your husband. Make it clear you are not accepting responsibility.

6. Look into legal aid organizations in your area that provide free or low-cost legal assistance for family law and housing matters. Even if you don't have an attorney, you still have rights and options.

7. Consider filing for legal separation or divorce, if you haven't already, and seeking temporary court orders related to the marital home, financial support, etc. The court may order your husband to remedy the unsafe living conditions.

8. Continue asserting your right to a safe and habitable home. Insist that your husband and/or the homeowner (if renting) remedy the unsanitary conditions immediately, per their legal responsibilities. Put all requests in writing.

The most important things are to document everything, put all communication in writing, firmly assert your position, and seek legal assistance in protecting your rights. You should not have to bear responsibility for damage and safety hazards that occurred in your absence.

Remember, you have rights and options even if up against intimidating opposition. Please don't hesitate to reach out to local legal aid, women's shelters, and domestic violence organizations for further support and guidance during this difficult time. Wishing you all the best.

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