Change the Locks

Feb 19, 2015

Can I change the locks on my door and tell my spouse to get out?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question ….. Let’s just say that separation is not always easy. Often couples want to get away from one another quickly, and will seek to secure the home during the other spouse’s absence by changing the locks.

There is no law to support a person changing the locks on their spouse, nor is there law to say that a person cannot change the locks. The issue is not about the locks themselves, but more about a person’s right of entry into the home. Generally speaking, whoever has right of possession by title or lease has a right of entry and cannot be “locked out” without a court order.

Law enforcement may or may not enforce a person’s right of entry into a home. It will depend upon the policy of the department and upon the circumstances officers find upon arrival at the call.

To ensure a person obtains exclusive possession of the house, attorneys will typically file a motion to request it, or an emergency action can be filed to include a request if circumstances warrant such. It is best to contact your attorney before taking any action that may waste your time and money. Your attorney may be able to advise you of a better way to accomplish what you seek.