Can I Ask My Wife to Leave the Apartment if Only My Name Is on the Lease?

by Wanda Thibodeaux ; Updated July 27, 2017
A close-up of keys in an apartment door.

Ideally, husbands and wives are able to reside together in a mutually supportive environment. With at least half of all marriages ending in divorce as of the time of publication, however, the odds are high that problems will arise during matrimony. In some cases, this may mean you want your wife to leave the apartment in which you both reside. You may be able to get your wife to leave, depending on your circumstances, but you still may need to get formal help from the court for this purpose.

Normal Lease Regulations

Generally, if a person's name isn't on a lease then that person has no legal right to stay in a leased rental residence. This standard is why people believe it is legal to ask a wife to leave an apartment if her name isn't on the lease. Lease regulation exceptions include when persons not on a lease can show the landlord knew about the tenancy and willingly accepted rent. Minor children also are excepted from lease regulations because they can't legally enter into contracts.

Marital Residence Rules

When you're married, the courts usually denote where you reside with your spouse as the marital residence. Marital properties are subject to different regulations than normal tenant-roommate agreements. This applies whether the marital residence is a house, condominium, apartment or other property. In most instances, when a property has been deemed a marital residence it doesn't matter whose name is on the lease; both spouse have some right to it.

Exceptions to Spouse Protections

Apartments aren't always considered marital residences. A wife may lease a separate residence of her own if her marriage is estranged but shuttle between it and her husband's apartment. Courts looking at estranged spouses staying in separate residences more than the traditional marital residences may find separate residences to be actual permanent residences. Thus, your landlord would have a legal right to evict your estranged wife from your apartment. Obtaining a restraining or protective order against your estranged wife could also prevent her from staying in your apartment.

Asking a Wife to Leave

Whether you can ask your wife to leave your apartment depends on whether you can prove that the apartment currently is not a marital residence. It also depends on your safety situation. In many cases, your wife will have a right to reside in the apartment, particularly if there is evidence that your landlord had knowledge of your wife's tenancy.

About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.

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