Can I Force My Spouse To Leave My House in BC? - Zukerman Law

Can I Force My Spouse To Leave My House in BC?

Navigating the complexities of property rights and marital homes can be challenging, especially when facing relationship challenges or legal uncertainties. One common question that arises in such situations is whether it’s possible to compel a spouse to leave the shared residence in British Columbia. Understanding the legal landscape surrounding this issue is crucial for anyone seeking clarity and guidance during difficult times.

For those seeking professional guidance and expertise in family law matters, we’ll highlight the role of Zukerman Law Group. Zukerman Law Group has extensive experience in BC family law and separation issues, and we can help you understand your rights and explore the best options for your specific situation.

Let’s navigate through the intricacies of this important issue and shed light on the options available to individuals facing similar circumstances.

Understanding Property Rights in a Marriage

Understanding Property Rights in a Marriage

In British Columbia, property rights in the context of marriage are governed by specific laws outlined in the Family Law Act. It’s essential to comprehend these laws to navigate issues related to the matrimonial home and other shared assets effectively.

Overview of Property Rights under BC Family Law

Under BC family law, property acquired during a marriage or common-law partnership is generally considered family property and subject to division upon separation or divorce. This includes assets such as the matrimonial home, vehicles, investments, and personal belongings acquired during the relationship.

The Family Law Act recognizes the principle of equal division of family property unless there are significant reasons to divide it unequally. This means that each spouse is entitled to an equal share of the family property, regardless of whose name the property is in.

Explanation of Matrimonial Homes and Rights Associated with Them

A key aspect of property rights in marriage pertains to the matrimonial home. The matrimonial home is the primary residence where a couple lives together, whether owned by one or both spouses. In BC, the matrimonial home holds special significance in family law matters.

Ownership of the Home: The legal ownership of the matrimonial home can impact the rights of each spouse. Whether the home is owned solely by one spouse or jointly by both can affect entitlements to occupancy and division of the property.

Occupation Rights: Even if one spouse is the sole owner of the matrimonial home, the other spouse may still have occupancy rights under the Family Law Act. This means they have the right to live in the home, regardless of ownership, unless a court order or agreement states they don’t have occupancy rights.

Understanding these fundamental property rights is crucial when considering options for dealing with issues related to the marital home during separation or divorce proceedings.

Can You Make A Spouse Move Out During Divorce?

Can You Make A Spouse Move Out During Divorce?

You most likely cannot force a spouse to move out during a divorce if you and your spouse bought the house together or if it was purchased during the marriage. 

That being said, you may file for an injunction or protection order if your spouse is abusing you or your children. In these situations, you may receive an order for your abusive spouse to leave the family home and avoid contact with you and your children.

Outside of this exception, the only way you may force your spouse to move out is if you are the sole owner of the house and it is not regarded as community property. This would be the case if you bought the house before getting married, if it’s solely in your name, and if your spouse didn’t make any contributions to the home while you were living together.

Under these unusual circumstances, your spouse may have no legal claim on the home but you may still have to follow the procedures for a “kick out” order that applies under the law.

Should A Spouse Move Out During Divorce?

Should A Spouse Move Out During Divorce?

It can make sense for one of the two spouses to leave the family home while the divorce is still pending, even though you cannot force a spouse to move out during a divorce. When you file for divorce, it may take several months before you can formally end your marriage and separate as a couple. It can be difficult for everyone to live together at this time.

Depending on the terms of the agreement, the spouse who moves out of the house will not lose their legal claim or interest in it and may even end up receiving the house as part of the divorce settlement. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the possibility of losing your residence prevent you from leaving. You might want to leave if your partner is making you feel uncomfortable and won’t go.

Circumstances Where You Can Request Spouse to Leave

Circumstances Where You Can Request Spouse to Leave

In British Columbia, there are certain circumstances where you may consider taking legal measures to request that your spouse vacate the matrimonial home. It’s important to note that each situation is unique, and seeking legal advice is crucial to understand your rights and options fully.

Safety Concerns or Domestic Violence

If you or your children are at risk of harm due to domestic violence or abuse perpetrated by your spouse, you can seek immediate legal intervention. This may include obtaining a protection order that requires your spouse to leave the home and stay away for a specified period.

Serious Conflict or Irreconcilable Differences

In cases where living together has become untenable due to irreconcilable differences or serious conflict, you may pursue legal avenues to request exclusive possession of the home. This typically involves demonstrating to the court that it is reasonable and necessary for one spouse to remain in the home while the issues are resolved.

Ownership and Financial Contributions

If you are the sole owner of the matrimonial home or have made significant financial contributions towards the property, you may have stronger legal grounds to request your spouse to leave. However, this can be complex and depends on various factors, including the length of the relationship and contributions made by both parties.

Conclusion 

The legal landscape surrounding spousal rights during separation can be confusing, especially when emotions are running high. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this alone. Consulting with a qualified family lawyer like those at Zukerman Law Group can make a significant difference. They can provide clear guidance on your entitlements, explore options for resolving living arrangements, and advocate for your best interests throughout the process. Zukerman Law Group’s expertise can help ensure your rights are protected and that you reach a solution that allows you to move forward with your life. For more information or to set up an INITIAL CONSULTATION, contact us at 604-575-5464 or contact us.

FAQs

  • 1- How do I tell my husband I don’t want a divorce?1

    To save your marriage, express your genuine desire and be patient during discussions.

  • 2- Can my wife force me to leave the house in Canada?1

    Both spouses can live in the family home during separation, regardless of ownership, and one spouse cannot force the other out. A spouse who leaves can return at any time.

  • 3- Can my husband cut me off financially?1

    The law states that half of their income is yours. But if the spouse disregards this, a court order is required to force the income sharing, which can take 90 days to obtain.

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Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.