If I’m an alcoholic who is in early recovery, can my wife legally prevent me from my home if I broke no laws?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I’m an alcoholic who is in early recovery, can my wife legally prevent me from my home if I broke no laws?

I left my family to go on a binge and didn’t disclose my location. I have been gone for 5 days now however I stopped drinking and sought help over three days ago. My wife has refused to allow me to return home since I disclosed my location to her at that time. I have been fortunate in the fact that I haven’t been pulled over for a DUI and haven’t been aressted for anything whatsoever. She and my 18 year old son are deeply hurt and very upset. She claims to have changed the locks on the house and is allowing me to return home today. I have the clothes on my back and that’s all. Everything I own including medication is in that house.

Asked on August 29, 2015 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, one spouse may not exclude the other from the marital home without a court order, such as protective order or a divorce decree, giving her the legal authority to do this. She has to let you back in, and if she won't try going to the police for help. If the police will not help and even though they should, sometimes the police refuse to involve themselves in what they see as domestic disputes, speak with a family law attorney about bringing a legal action to get back into your home. 

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