Can my soon-to-be ex-wife keep me from moving back into our marital residence?

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Can my soon-to-be ex-wife keep me from moving back into our marital residence?

My wife and I separated 3 years ago. I moved out. Now, because of her refusal to allow our kids to spend time with me, I want to move back into the house until the divorce is obtained and child visitation is awarded. She says she will have me arrested for trespassing. Can she keep me out?

Asked on September 27, 2011 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have equal rights with your wife to the marital residence unless a final decree of divorce has been granted or there is a separation or court order to the contrary. This is basically true no matter how long it has been since you left. It is also true no matter whose name the deed (or lease) is in. And a rightful occupant cannot be arrested for trespassing.

That having been said, since children are involved and your wife will vehemently oppose your move back in, you should consult with a divorce attorney as to all of this. I'm sure you will agree that causing a scene it to no one's benefit, particularly a child's.


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