Can I keep sole possession of my house through legal separation?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I keep sole possession of my house through legal separation?

My wife of 20 years is very ill with alcoholism. We bought our house together but she has been unemployable for the last 5 or 6 years. I fear with the stable roof over her head she will never hit her bottom. I don’t really want to divorce her but I can’t live with the drinking anymore. I have been clean and sober for the last 6 years. And I know through experience many alcoholics never get serious about getting help until they’ve lost it all. I have 2 sons living at home going to college and I want to keep possession of the house so that they can continue their education in this difficult economy. Could she be compelled to leave by doing a legal separation? My main goals are twofold. New Link Destination
stop living with the alcoholism and to help her want to seek help.

Asked on July 6, 2016 under Family Law, California


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is possible for you to be awarded the house.  Your argument for keeping the house is that you are (1) financially and emotionally stable enough to maintain and pay for the house and (2) it needs to serve as a 'home base' for your college bound children. 
You can go the legal separation route... or file for divorce and obtain temporary orders.... but not finalize until you are ready to do so.  Under either option, you can request that the court grant you exclusive use of the house.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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