May I Kick My Spouse out of the House and Change the Locks in Anticipation of a Minnesota Divorce?
I am often asked whether it is permissible to kick one’s spouse out of the house and change the locks. The short answer is: NO. Furthermore,
- It doesn’t matter that the house is titled solely in one spouse’s name or neither spouse’s name.
- It doesn’t matter whose name is on the lease.
- It doesn’t matter who makes the mortgage or rent payments.
- It doesn’t matter if your spouse is making your life a living hell. The only way to force a spouse out of the house where he or she resides is to get a Court Order.
If you or your child has been the victim of domestic abuse by your spouse, you can get an Order for Protection immediately, which will bar your spouse from the house. Otherwise, absent an agreement, the soonest you’ll get an order for exclusive occupancy of the home would be with the issuance of an Order for Temporary Relief, which usually takes anywhere from about one to five months to obtain, depending on the county, the judge, and the speed of your attorney.