The home that a couple lives in during their marriage is called the matrimonial home. Sometimes, when couples separate or are getting divorced, one party wants the other spouse to move out.Can one spouse evict another from the home? The short answer is no. Irrespective of whether you are married in community of property or out of community of property, the general rule is that the spouse who rents or owns the property is not entitled to eject the other spouse from the matrimonial home, nor may the other spouse eject the spouse who rents or owns the property.
South African courts are very reluctant to evict a spouse from the matrimonial home, especially if there are minor children involved. The court would have to take into account whether it would be in the best interests of the children to grant the eviction. In order for one spouse to evict another, there must be a just reason and such spouse will have to provide the other with suitable alternative accommodation.
The provision of alternative accommodation and the use of household assets form part of the duty of support between spouses and a spouse who is subject to ejectment from the matrimonial home or who is barred from using the household assets can approach the court for an interdict to prevent the other spouse from doing so.
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Author – Jenna Phillips