After my spouse moves out, how long do I have to wait before I can change the locks?

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2012

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After my spouse moves out, how long do I have to wait before I can change the locks?

Asked on November 2, 2012 under Family Law, Tennessee


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If it's your house, you don't have a set time frame for when you can change the locks.  However, if the house is also your spouse's house, just know they have the same right to go get the locks changed as well. 

If the lock change is for safety or security purposes, consider going ahead and filing for divorce and include a request for temporary or protective orders which grant you the exclusive right to use the residence while the divorce is pending.  Orders based on these type of motions will strip your spouse of the right to come back in and re-change the locks. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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