Enforcement Options If Spouse Refuses To Move Out

divorce lawyer Caroline ThompsonQuestion:

I was awarded the marital home in our divorce decree, but my ex-wife is refusing to leave the house on the court-ordered date.

Can I call the police and have her removed from the home if she does not comply by the date ordered or must I go through the courts for enforcement?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Since you have an enforceable court order, you certainly have the right to inform the police that the order is not being abided.

However, in my state, the police typically do not engage in the enforcement of divorce orders, which could be very different in your state.

A further drawback is that until such time as the date has arrived and passed in which your ex-wife is to vacate the residence, the police will not be able to enforce the order.

If the police are unwilling to enforce the court order, you, unfortunately, will have to proceed through the courts for enforcement.

A potential benefit to proceeding through the court could be that if your ex-wife has communicated to you in writing that she is unwilling to vacate the residence on the set date, the court may be able to put in a subsequent order that the police are to assist with the enforcement of the original order and decree.

In my state, if your ex-wife refuses to vacate on the date she is ordered to, then you could file an emergency petition. This means that the court should conduct a hearing on your petition on an expedited basis and you can have your petition heard by a judge much sooner than you would if you went through the normal course.

Also, in my state, if you are forced to file a petition to enforce a court order and you have used the services of an attorney, you can request that your ex-wife be responsible for your attorney fees.

It would be the judge’s discretion if counsel fees were awarded, but you are certainly entitled to ask for payment of your legal expenses.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Caroline J. Thompson, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Enforcement Options If Spouse Refuses To Move Out

    Also, you are entitled to file at your divorce court, a Motion for Contempt, not on ex-parte basis. If the court find your wife in violation of the court order, then, she could be liable for civil contempt penalty and the probate judge may penalize her with a fine, and, there is a possibility of a jail sentence in the event that she continues disobeying the court order.

    Moreover, you have an option to file an eviction procedures at the district court based on the fact that you are the owner of the house and the residency of your wife has expired pursuant to the probate court order.

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