Can my wife keep me from coming back home if she decided she wanted a separation while I am out of state taking care of personal business?

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Can my wife keep me from coming back home if she decided she wanted a separation while I am out of state taking care of personal business?

I went out of state in order to take care of a driver’s license issue. After almost 6 weeks, she told me that she wanted to be separated. We have 2 children and I have no other family there. Can she legally keep me from returning to the rental house we’ve shared for a year. I’m going back in a week and will be homeless if I’m not allowed to return home. What are my legal rights?

Asked on August 14, 2016 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Until a formal separation agreement has been entered onto or a final decree of divorce has been entered, your rental home is considered to be and remains the "joint marital residence". This means that both of you have equal rights to occupy it. This is true no matter whose name the lease is in. Accordingly, if your wife refuses you entry, you can have the local police department intervene. At this point, upon your return you should consult directly with a divorce attorney; they can best advise on how to proceed from here.


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