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Can I Force My Spouse to Leave the Home?

If the home is jointly titled or leased, you cannot "force" your spouse to leave the home (e.g. by changing the locks and precluding access). Each spouse has an equal right to stay and live in a jointly owned or leased home.

Under circumstances of domestic violence, the Court can order one spouse to vacate the home for a period of time in order to protect the safety of the other spouse and/or child of the parties. When a Court decides residential custody of a minor child, the Court can also award use and possession of the family home to the custodial parent. The other spouse is then required to vacate the home during the use and possession period.

At the time of divorce, the Court can either order the sale of the home or award the custodial parent use and possession of the home for up to 3 years. Upon termination of a use and possession order, the home will be sold.


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Maryland Family Law recognizes eight different grounds for divorce. Adultery, voluntary separation (for at least 12 months), imprisonment (with a sentence of at least three years and at least 12 months already served), and living separate and apart (for at least two years), are among some of the reasons. For the court to grant a divorce based upon any of these grounds, they must be proved in court through evidence and testimony.
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