If my husband left the family home 4 weeks ago, can I change the locks on the home?

There is a history of domestic violence and there is a minor child in the home.

Asked on October 12, 2015 under Family Law, Florida


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, until there is a final decree of divorce or other court order that addresses the right to the sole
possession of the home, it is still considered to be the "marital residence" no matter whose name the deed/lease may be in. Accordingly, both spouses have the legal right to occupy it.
That having been said, if one spouse has put the other spouse and/or their children in fear for their safety, then a protective order gain be obtained and this will allow the innocent spouse to exclusively occupy the home. At that point, the locks can be changed.
Note If there is an immediate threat, the police can be called and they will remove the offending spouse from the premises.
At this point, you can directly contact an attorney in you area as to your rights under specific state law. If money is an issue, you can also contact your local social services office for further information.

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