If my wife left but my name is the only one on lease, can I change the locks and keep her out?

She can have whatever she wants from home; I just don’t want her coming back. She is a alcoholic that’s been in and out of hospitals and addiction homes.

Asked on February 26, 2016 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, until a final decree of divorce has been issued or a formal sepration agreement has been entered into, the home of a married couple remiand the "marital residence". This means that each spouse has equal rights of use and occuancy. Therefore, one spouse cannot lock out the other spouse. If, however, one spouse has put the other spouse in fear for their safety, then the victimized spouse can apply for a protective order to keep the other spouse from entering the premises. The process for this varies from state-tostate. If you think that might be applicable to your situation, you should consult further with a local divorce attorney.


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