Writing a blog on a regular basis is easier if you have a goal or goals in mind. This year, my goals are 1) to correct myths and misunderstandings about various aspects of the law, particularly family law, 2) talk about “gray” areas that exist in Texas Family Law, and 3) provide as much education as possible about divorce and custody law in Texas.
The first myth that comes to mind is one that I dealt with just this week – but hear about all of the time.
A client came to me and let me know that she had been “kicked out of” her house. In describing the situation, she let me know that her spouse decided that what was done by the client was so outrageous that she needed to “leave the home immediately.”
Based on what the husband had demanded, the client promptly left the home and was desperate to find somewhere else to live.
Fortunately, I was able to provide good news when I explained that being “thrown out of your house” by your spouse is something that people hear in the movies and assume actually exists.
The truth is this: Neither spouse has the right to “throw” the other one out of the marital home – even if the home is the separate property of the one that wants to do the throwing.
If proper procedures are used, and a divorce is filed, either spouse has the right to ask the court to allow him or her to have the “Temporary exclusive use and possession of the home.” If the Judge grants such a request, the person without the use and possession would need to leave – but that’s only after the opportunity for a hearing and a right to be heard on the issue.
Additionally, if one of the spouses commits family violence (also known as domestic violence), and the victim asks the court within 30 days of the violence to kick the other person out of the house, the court can do so, even without a hearing and opportunity to be heard.
So, what does a person that has been “thrown” out of the house by his or her spouse without the proper procedures do? Simply put, say no. Refuse to leave, and let the other person know that if he or she wants to live separately, they can leave.