What can I do if my husband changed locks but both of us are on the deed?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if my husband changed locks but both of us are on the deed?

He wants the separation and divorce and is having an affair. My son was sick so we went to stay an hour away by my mom and his doctor. Then I got sick. We’ve been here 10 days and have been in contact with my husband by email who kept saying if we return he’s moving out. I said we aren’t even separated, all of our stuff is there. We will be back. Let me know if you get a place and I’ll have my dad come change the locks. I messaged him tonight telling him we were on our way. He says he changed the locks and he isn’t going to leave me a key. Can I break into my own house if there are no orders, no abuse and he knew and it’s documented we were coming back?

Asked on August 20, 2016 under Family Law, North Carolina


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Until a formal separation agreement is in effect or a final decree of divorce has been entered, both spouse's have equal rights to the use and occupancy of their home no matter who is listed on the deed. This is because at this point, the house is still considered to be the "joint marital residence". Accordingly, you have the right to enter the premises and, if neceassary, break-in. What you can do is to change the locks but make sure to provide your husband with a key since he also has the right to be there. At this point, you really should consult with a divorce attorney who can best advise you further.

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