Justia Lawyer badge
AV Preeminent - Todd G. Cole
BBB badge
AVVO Top Attorney
Expertise - Divorce
Expertise - Employment
Client Champion 2023
AV Preeminent
Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
Rated by Super Lawyers - Rising stars
Verified Lead Counsel

Co-Habitation Breakups: Who Moves on & Who Moves Out

Alyssa Castronovo
Man picking his stuff up

How do I get my ex to move out?

Legally speaking, I cannot recommend you harass your ex or engage in any threatening or harassing behavior to remove them from your home. Engaging in such behavior may have negative legal consequences. However, there are legal ways to get your ex to move out.

Breaking up is never easy, and when you live under the same roof as your ex-partner, it can make a difficult situation worse. If you can no longer co-exist in the same space, finding a way for your ex to move out peacefully and legally is essential to maintaining your own well-being as you begin the next chapter of your life.

Is their name on the lease/mortgage/deed?

If the answer is no, they do not legally have a right to be there. However, this does not mean you can simply change the locks the next time they leave the house or throw all their belongings onto the front lawn. You must serve a written eviction notice and let them know they have thirty (30) days to remove themselves from the residence.[i] Make sure you keep a record of how the written notice was communicated to your ex.

If they still refuse to vacate the premises after the thirty (30) day deadline has passed, you will need to seek court intervention for an order of eviction. I will say this again, you cannot simply change the locks the next time they leave the house and throw all of their belongings onto the front lawn. If you choose to engage in such behavior, you may be liable for any damages sustained by your ex or their property, punitive damages (damages meant to punish you for your behavior), and reasonable attorney’s fees.[ii]

If the answer is yes, depending on the terms of your lease or housing agreement, you may still have options to remove them legally from the property. Carefully review the terms and conditions of your agreement. If there are provisions that address what would happen in the event of a breakup, be sure to follow those guidelines. If there are no such guidelines, consider discussing this matter with your landlord or a legal professional who can help you navigate towards a solution.

You may also want to consider offering a financial incentive for your ex-partner to move out.  Offering a financial incentive can include helping with moving expenses, covering their first month’s rent, or assisting with a security deposit. However, if both of your names are on the mortgage and/or title of the property, they will likely want a larger financial payout to incentivize them to be the party that moves out. Legal counsel can help negotiate a settlement offer and ensure all related matters are taken care of. You do not want to be in a situation where you gave your ex a large amount of cash and they refuse to take their name off the property.

While discussing moving out, it is also crucial to establish a clear and reasonable timeline for your ex to leave the residence. Being open to negotiation and compromise can help facilitate this process. Be sure to take into account practical considerations, like the time needed to find a new place. Having a set deadline can provide you with closure and leave a light at the end of this breakup tunnel.

My ex wants me to move out. Do I have to leave?

If your name is on the lease or deed, then you have a legal right to continue living at that property.

If your name is not on the lease or deed, you may not have a legal right to continue living on the property, and your ex may evict you. The answer may differ if you and your spouse entered into a cohabitation agreement prior to moving in. If this is the case, it may be worth seeking legal counsel to review the enforceability of your agreement.

If there is no such agreement in place and your name is not on the title to any of the property, a court will likely have a difficult time awarding you any of the “shared” property. However, this does not mean that you are necessarily out of options. If you have been the one making these payments, you might consider asking your ex to move out and transfer the property into your name. If they are financially dependent upon you, they may be willing to negotiate an agreement to sell the property or have you take over the lease. You should consider speaking with your landlord or an attorney to review your lease prior to solidifying any agreement.

We are still married… can I get them to move out?


Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to request the court enter an order for exclusive use of the marital residence while your divorce is pending. Courts generally do not like kicking a spouse out of their home prior to a marital dissolution agreement or final decree being entered. Why? Because parties have a tendency to want to move things along while forced to live with a spouse during a divorce. When one party is awarded the marital residence, it can disincentivize them to want to continue to work towards a resolution. This is especially true when the marital residence is the only major asset that needs to be divided.

However, in cases where you are able to show the court that there has been emotional or physical abuse, the court may be inclined to award you exclusive possession of the marital residence while the divorce is pending. If you believe this applies to you, you should consult with a knowledgeable Nashville divorce attorney.

Throughout this process, it is essential to respect your ex’s rights. Do not engage in any behavior that could even remotely be considered harassment or coercion. Be mindful of their personal space and privacy. Getting your ex to move out legally and peacefully is a challenge that requires open communication, respect for their rights and adherence to the law. The professionals at Cole Law Group have the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process and any questions you may have along the way. Please contact us at (615) 490-6020 to request a consultation.

[i]  T.C.A. § 66-7-109

[ii]  T.C.A. § 66-28-504

Client Reviews

"Cole Law Group has been nothing short of spectacular for myself and family. Their knowledge and experience is a solid and valuable asset to have at one's disposal in today's world."


"Communicative, collaborative, and professional to the core!"


"A beacon of hope when my choices were limited (...). Not only were they able to look out for my best interest, but their calm and empathetic demeanor offered me both amazing legal advice and emotional support. I am eternally grateful for their service, and I wholeheartedly recommend Cole Law Group...


"Now, as professionals, just astounding. There was such a calmness and a genuine strength that they exhibit because they simply know the law. It was amazing to see the back and forth of their work and never once be wavering or scrambling. There was not one time this entire process where I knew I...


"This group can get anything you need done! They can do just about any kind of court issues! When you hire these guys you will walk away feeling confident that they will get things done for you!"


Excellent team, responsible, honest, accessible and above all human.


Contact Us

  • White Bullet List Video Conferencing Available
  • White Bullet List Responsive Client Service
  • White Bullet List Fluent in Spanish
Fill out the contact form or call us at (615) 490-6020 to schedule your consultation.

Leave Us a Message