Am I allowed to change the locks on the house while myself and future ex wife are still there?

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Am I allowed to change the locks on the house while myself and future ex wife are still there?

My wife and I are getting a divorce, I
don’t trust her to be in the home while
away, can I change the locks?

Asked on August 7, 2016 under Family Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No matter whose name is on the deed/lease, until a legal separation agreement is entered into or a final decree of divorce is issued that specifies which spouse has the rights to occupy the premises, you both have equal rights to live there. The reason is that it is still considered to be the "joint marital residence". Accordingly, you cannot change the locks. At this point, you should consult with a divorce attorney in your area. They can best advise you further.


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