Abandonment

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Abandonment

My husband left me a week ago. I am now living alone in the house which is under
his name. I dont know what legal rights I have. Can I change the locks or can I
not? what legal claim if any do I have on the house if I am legally married to
him?

Asked on June 28, 2016 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Whatever rights you may have to the house will be up for a court to decide. In the meantime, until there is a final decree of divorce or a formal separation agreement in effect that address who does/doesn't have the right to occupy the house, it is still considered to be the "joint marital residence" no matter whose name that the deed is in. Accordingly, you cannot change the locks at this time, even if your husband has already left. At this point, you really should consult directly with a local divorce attorney in your area; they can best advise you further.


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