What can I do if my wife and I are getting a divorce but no paperwork has been filed and she has changed the locks on the house but we are both co-owners?

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What can I do if my wife and I are getting a divorce but no paperwork has been filed and she has changed the locks on the house but we are both co-owners?

She is making up the excuse that I make her scared and nervous but I have never shown any violence towards her or made threats of violence. Is it legal for her to lock me out?

Asked on September 18, 2015 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since the home is jointly owned, she can't force you to leave and/or lock you out. You could break the lock and re-enter if you wish although that would not be advisable. If she wants to prohibit you from re-entering, she will need to go to court to get sole temporary residence of the home. Once she files for divorce, she can make a motion for exclusive occupancy of the home.
However, if she can prove that she is in fear for her safety or your children's, if you any, then she can also be granted an emergency protective order which will you keep you from entering the home.
At this point, you should consult directly with a local divorce attorney. They can best advise you further.


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