Can my wife keep me out of the house that we both lease?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my wife keep me out of the house that we both lease?

I have paid all of the bills for the house. She does not work and is gone

day and night neglecting the marriage and our 4 year old son. She has taken

over $1000 from my paycheck with no reason or explanation. Leaving me,

the only provider, to struggle to get to work and provide for our son while she

is gone. Now she has gone as far as putting my things into boxes and leaving

them outside one evening before I arrived home. I had to spend what money I

had for a hotel and during this time found out that was having an affair the

whole time while neglecting marriage and family. I told her I want divorce for

adultery and neglecting our marriage and son. I found out by law that both

tenants can live there. However, on my last hotel stay, I asked her to move and she agreed. However, the night I was to come home she claimed that she got with the landlord and told her that we were going through a divorce. She then wrote a new lease only in her name and the locks were changed, even though I needed to get the rest of my things. I do not think this was legal. I was never contacted and I was paying the rent. Also, the man she is having affair with is a convicted felon and drug dealer. I do not want him in my home with my son. I hope you can give me some insight on what to do.

Asked on September 19, 2018 under Family Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) She cannot change the lease (or replace it with a new lease) without your consent; while a lease is in force, it requires the agreement of all parties to the lease to change it.
2) One lessee/tenant may not legally keep the other out of the space they both rent.
3) Even ignoring the lease, one spouse may not keep the other out of the marital home without a court order (e.g. a protective order, if there were allegations of violence). A divorce may determine who can live there--but until the court makes a decision, you both may.
So what she is doing is illegal. Consult with a family law attorney about a) getting back into the space, if you want to, and/or at least getting your belongings; b) about keeping he felon/drug dealer away from your son; c) to file for divorce, if she has not done so yet; and d) to make sure you get what you are entitled to in the divorce--including custody of your son, if you can show that is in his interest.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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