Marital Property in Minnesota: Can I Make My Spouse Move Out?

Living in a family home with your spouse when you are getting divorced is not a very comfortable situation. If you don’t want to leave your family home but you also don’t want to live with your spouse any more, you may wonder “can I evict my spouse?”. Unfortunately, the answer to this question in the vast majority of situations is that you cannot make your spouse move out. However, you may wish to speak with an experienced divorce attorney to learn what options, if any, you would have to get your spouse out of the home. Your attorney can also help you to expedite the process of divorce so that it moves as quickly as possible so you can get into a better living situation.

MARITAL PROPERTY IN MINNESOTA: YOUR FAMILY HOME AND DIVORCE

In a typical situation, the family home that you live in with your spouse is considered marital property. This means that you both own the home and have a legal right to be there. While there may be some rare exceptions to this if the house is titled in your name only and you have been the payor of the bills on the home, usually this means that both you and your spouse can claim a legal interest in the house.

Since you and your spouse both have a legal right to be in the home, you aren’t going to be able to make your spouse move out any more than he or she could force you to leave the home. You can, of course, ask your spouse to leave— but there is no guarantee that this will work. You can also leave your home if you wish to do so and this should theoretically not affect your right to the house in a divorce proceeding, although arguments are sometimes made that since you aren’t living there any more anyway, the other spouse should get to keep the house.  While you won’t lose your interest in your house simply by leaving it, you should still talk to an experienced divorce lawyer before leaving the home to make sure you understand your rights.

THE FAMILY HOME AND ABUSE SITUATIONS

While you generally cannot force your spouse to leave the home, there may be an exception in cases where physical abuse is occurring. If you have credible evidence that your spouse has been abusive or threatening to you or to your children, you may be able to get a court order to force your spouse to leave the house. Typically, in these situations, you would also want to ensure you also secured a restraining order or protective order to get added protection from your threatening spouse.

You should be aware that many people talk about mental abuse and that is something the courts typically won’t get very excited about, you generally need physical abuse or threats of physical violence to get immediate relief or help from the courts.  One thing I see a lot is that people try and use an incident of abuse from several years ago and say because that happened they need immediate help.  While this might be possible, it is a bit tricky to use an incident from years ago and talk about immediate help.

In physical abuse situations, it is even more important to speak with an attorney who can help you to get your spouse out of the house and who can assist you in taking full advantage of the protections available under the law for domestic violence victims.

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