Should I Change the Locks?
It’s inevitable. It’s been coming for months. It’s unavoidable. There’s no other way. And now you’re ready. Ready for him to be out of the house. Ready to have some peace in your life. Ready to not have the emotional roller coaster of negative energy in your space.
So, can you kick him out of the house? And then change the locks on the doors so he can’t get back in? Let me first answer that question with a reminder. The reminder is to remember that from this point forward, everything, and I mean everything you do, should be filtered through the one thought “will I want a judge to see that I did (or wrote) this?” So, with that pearl of wisdom in the back of your mind, let’s proceed to answer the question in the long way.
Basically, if you both own your home, or you are both on the lease, then you both legally have a right to be there. The only civil court way to legally bar the other person from being in the home is by securing whatever your jurisdiction’s version is of a court order allowing you to have exclusive occupancy of the home. The other way, is to secure an injunction, which you can only get if there is some incidents of domestic violence or stalking, or the like. The injunction is also a version of a court order, so put another way, if you both have a legal right to the property, then you’ll need a court order to override that legal right.
Courts often frown upon what they deem as “self-help” behavior. In other words, if you do it anyway and then ask the court to help you with something else, it could prejudice you in the end.
And there is always, an “it depends” somewhere along the way….
IF your spouse leaves on his own, and has his own place somewhere else, and hasn’t lived there for a while, and the divorce has already been filed, then there are two things to think about – 1) the court will very likely easily grant you the order of exclusive occupancy and 2) the police may go along with your plan and not allow him back in the house, even if he wants to be.
So, the short answer is yes if you have a court order or injunction, and yes if he has moved out and has his own place somewhere.
If you still have burning questions, or are contemplating or experiencing divorce, download my free divorce survival guide at www.yourdivorcesurvivalguide.com or visit my website at www.rebeccazung.com. I am here to support you so you feel empowered through your divorce.