By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation
A spouse may mean either a married spouse or a person with whom you have cohabited in a conjugal relationship for 3 or more years (more commonly known as “common law”).
If you are a married spouse, you have an automatic right to reside in the habitual residence, regardless of who actually owns the house. To “evict” a married spouse, you will require a court order for exclusive possession. This will depend on several things, including the financial ability of either spouse to leave the home, conflict, and the best interests of the children.
If you are a common law spouse, there are no automatic rights allowing you to remain the habitual residence except according to title (i.e. you are an owner of the home). The non-titled spouse is not considered to be a tenant, so they have no right s under the Residential Tenancies Act. The titled spouse has the right to demand the other leave the property. However, this is difficult to enforce; the police will usually be of no assistance “evicting” a spouse from the home. Instead, the titled spouse may have to bring an Application to Court asking for possession of the property which they own, along with a Writ of Possession, which then directs the Sheriff to oust the non-titled spouse.
The non-titled spouse, either married or common law, will likely raise other issues relating to the property, including trust claims, which may complicate the matter. Contact us today to discuss your particular case.