What Happens When An Ex Or Co-Parent Refuses To Vacate The Home?
Last week our blog discussed whether or not selling the family home during divorce is necessary. We learned that not all parties must sell the family home, but married couples seeking divorce must compensate the other party for half of the home’s value. But what happens if both parties agree to sell the home, but one party refuses to leave? Even worse, what happens when an unmarried couple that shares children breaks up, and the other co-parent refuses to move out?
Evicting a Co-Parent
When two unmarried parents live together, and the relationship sours, things can get very difficult. This is especially true if they do not own the home together or are renting. If both parties’ names are on the lease for an apartment, they will need to decide if they are breaking the lease to go their separate ways or if one party is moving out. In that case, they need to notify their landlord to make an addendum to the lease. If both parties own the home, this becomes a property dispute that may need to be settled in court, separately from the issue of child custody and child support.
If only one party owns the home, but their ex (and co-parent) refuses to vacate, they may need to start the process of eviction. This is a complicated area of the law, as the plaintiff/landlord must file a three day notice with the court and the holdover “tenant”, a five day eviction summons, and a complaint for back-due rent. It gets messy with couples splitting up, because the other party may not have been paying rent at all the entire time they lived together, but perhaps made other contributions to the home. A co-parent also cannot move forward with child support filing until the other party establishes residence.
Holding the Other Party in Contempt
For divorcing couples, more options are available. If you and your ex agreed in family court to sell the home, the provision is in writing, and the judge incorporated the marital settlement agreement into the divorce judgment, both parties must adhere to it. Failing to adhere to a divorce judgment can land both parties back into court. The aggrieved party can file a motion for civil contempt of the judgment. The judge may compel the other party to vacate the marital home so that it can be sold, and the proceeds divided. The court may hold the other party in contempt of the agreement, and in addition to moving out of the home, they may be sanctioned. This means they could be required to pay court costs associated with the hearing or an additional fine for failing to follow the terms of the divorce judgment.
Contact Orlando Divorce Attorney Steve Marsee
In summary, when neither party can agree about selling the family home, this dispute is often resolved in court. When unmarried parties break up, yet one party refuses to vacate the home, this becomes a property issue, but is just as complicated. It only gets more convoluted if there are children involved. If this situation is more than familiar to you, you need the advice of a seasoned divorce and custody lawyer. Attorney Steve Marsee is a respected Orlando family lawyer with more than three decades of experience handling a wide range of cases. He can help you too. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation.