When marital problems reach the point where living under the same roof becomes unbearable, there are remedies to that problem under California law. In an ideal situation, the parties to the marriage recognize that it’s time for physical separation, and they work out an agreeable solution. Often, however, that does not happen. If a mutually acceptable solution cannot be found, one party or the other may request that the court decide which one may retain possession of the family home during divorce or separation proceedings. This is known as a residence exclusion order or a “kick-out” order.
In other situations, there may be a real threat or possibility of harm to one of the parties. Under those circumstances, a party may approach the court to have the other party excluded from the home. There are two bases for excluding a spouse from the home when a possibility of physical or emotional harm exists: (1) emergency, and (2) non-emergency.
Under emergency conditions, a court may issue an exclusion order based only on the request of the threatened party. This is also known as an ex parte order because it happens without the excluded party having an opportunity to give his side of the story. This approach is necessary when the excluded party might be expected to react violently to the knowledge that the request has been made. For a judge to issue an ex parte exclusion order, the court must find the following:
- That the party remaining in the home has a right to possession of the premises;
- That the party being excluded has assaulted or threatens to assault the other party or other persons under that party’s care, such as children; and
- That physical or emotional harm would result to the requesting party or others under her care if the order is not granted.
Under non-emergency conditions, the party to be excluded from the home is given notice of the request and has the opportunity to appear at the hearing. The standard for an exclusion order to be issued in this situation is a little less than the emergency order. In this case, the court must find that physical or emotional harm would be suffered by the requesting party, or someone under her care, if the order is not granted. The difference from the emergency order is the absence of an imminent threat of physical assault.
The breakup of a marriage is most always a time of strong emotions for both parties. It is unfortunate that sometimes the emotion turns hostile and even violent. When faced with such a challenging time in one’s life, experienced legal counsel and representation is necessary. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience in divorce matters, including emergency and non-emergency exclusion actions. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can protect you and your family: (415) 298-8314.