What will happen if married guests staying at my house split up and one leaves their spouse and child behind?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What will happen if married guests staying at my house split up and one leaves their spouse and child behind?

My sister-in-law and her husband have been staying at our house for last 6 months. We are already fed up of them as we don’t really get along but due to financial constraints on their side, we are helping them out. My sister-in-law’s husband now wants to separate from her after being married to her for a long time. What happens if he takes off and leaves my sister-in-law and their son (who is a minor) to stay at our house? Is he legally under any binding that he has to take care of their housing needs (as both are dependents) if he wants to separate form them and not leave them to stay with us? I feel bad for my sister-in-law but have a family of my own and want to live my own life in my own house.

Asked on February 8, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not a family court would find he has to support *them* doesn't help YOU: you'll still have unwanted houseguests. (The outcome of any support, etc. litigation among them does not force them to leave your home or even to pay you rent or cover bills while there--it would just put money in the wife's pocket.) You can remove them if they don't leave voluntarily, but because you have voluntarily let them stay, you have to do so by filing an action for "ejectment": ejectment is eviction for non-tenants who are lawfully on the premises (i.e. not trespassers). Only if you bring an ejectment action and get a court order for their removal (so that a sheriff or court officer can remove them) will you get them out. If you fear this will happen, don't wait--ejectment actions take months. Talk to a landlord-tenant attorney (they also handle ejectment) and start the removal process *now*.

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