Can I Kick Him Out and Change the Locks

Posted: 17 September, 2019

Divorcing, Can I Kick Him Out and Change the Locks?

Filing for divorce while still living under the same roof is common.  For some staying in the home is better for the children.  For others, the decision to stay together after the divorce is filed is based on economics. But divorces can takes months to resolve, so if you are no longer happy rooming with your soon to be ex-spouse, while it may be a good idea to separate, don’t get any ideas about changing the locks while they are at work.

If you want exclusive possession of the marital home during the pendency of the separation or divorce proceedings you must obtain a court order allowing such.  A Las Vegas divorce lawyer will prepare a Motion for Exclusive Possession of the Marital Residence for the court’s determination.  Attempting to covet the family home prior to this motion being granted could be met with severe sanctions from the family court judge.

The Motion will inform the court of all the reasons the moving party should be allowed to stay in the home, change the locks, and prevent the other party from returning to the home. If a spouse packs his or her bags, takes their personal items and moves out of the marital home, the judge will almost surely grant you your motion.

Another factor a court considers is whether or not children are living in the home with one of the parents.  Because it provides stability for the children, courts lean towards giving temporary possession of the marital home to the parent who is caring for the children in the home. The court also considers which party is in the best financial condition to move to a different residence, and which party is going to end up with the house at the end of the case.

If the party requesting exclusive possession of the marital home has been the victim of domestic abuse, it is possible that in addition to granting the motion, the court may issue a restraining order against the alleged abuser and prevent them from returning to or visiting the marital residence.

The motion may be denied if the spouse who is being asked to move can show extraordinary circumstances as to why the move would create a hardship.  If the spouse has no place to go and cannot afford to pay rent somewhere else, it is possible that the motion will not be granted, and the divorcing spouses may need to maintain the mutual residence during the duration of the divorce.  This is sometimes an untenable position.  A Las Vegas divorce lawyer can discuss some alternative solutions to this difficult problem.

It is common to combine a Motion for Exclusive Possession with other motions seeking temporary orders until the final divorce is granted. For example, temporary orders regarding child custody, child support and spousal support may also be necessary.