CAN MY SPOUSE EVICT ME?

My wife wants to evict me out of the house we reside in. We have a 10-month-old baby. My name is not on the deed nor the mortgage. She had her attorney file a wrongful detainer complaint. I give her money regularly to pay bills.

ANSWER

This is not a landlord/tenant issue. It is possible that your spouse’s attorney filed the wrongful detainer action as an attempt to scare you into voluntarily leaving the home. However, you have an equal right to be in the marital home as she does unless the Court tells you otherwise.

Prior to filing for divorce, one must have a ground or reason for the divorce. Voluntary separation is one of the grounds for divorce. It is likely that she wants to file for divorce but does not want to leave the home so she is trying to kick you out.

Under Maryland law, marital property is property acquired during the marriage, regardless of how titled. As a spouse, you have equal rights to the house, even if you did not contribute financially. This is especially true since you have a child to consider. In divorce proceedings, a party may request “use and possession” of the home for the benefit of the minor child for up to three (3) years following the Judgment of Absolute Divorce. This is a court order remedy and does not take effect until the Court orders it. In the meantime, you are not required to leave the marital home.

Contact a divorce attorney to assist you as soon as possible. With the recent change in the law, individuals with minor children are able to get divorced on the grounds of “mutual consent” if they have a written, signed agreement. An attorney can inform you regarding your rights as well as alternative dispute resolution options.