Can a wife with a restraining order against her husband legally change the locks on a home where both names are on the mortgage?

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Can a wife with a restraining order against her husband legally change the locks on a home where both names are on the mortgage?

My sister’s husband left the home a week after he forcibly restrained her in front of their 3 year-old. He left marks that were still visible a week later. The day after he left she filed papers in the court requesting a restraining order, custody, support, and a separation. That night he forced his way into the home and tossed it looking for a personal item. The police were called and the officer on scene recommended changing the locks. A restraining order was granted. She is concerned that he will return to the home damage the home or remove items not his.

Asked on September 3, 2010 under Family Law, Connecticut

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Although generally you can not change the locks on a spouse who has left the premises without an order allowing you to do so or an order granting you temporary sole occupancy until the matter can be determined once and for all, in this case you have a valid restraining order and proof that he has violated the order on one occasion.  So yes, I would go ahead and change the locks.  And if and when he comes around again you need to call the police and advise that he is violating the order.  Keep good records as to each time he does this so that the Court will be able to see the pattern in his abusive behaviour.  And get yourself an attorney.  Good luck.


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