Can one partner lock the other partner out?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2012

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Can one partner lock the other partner out?

My father and his girlfriend were together for more than 10 years, she cheated and left him (in the house that is both of their names) for another man. After a whole year of her not living in the house, she came back while my dad was on vacation had a locksmith change the locks and move back in. Now she is asking for alimony. On top of everything, they have an 8 year old daughter together so it makes more difficult for my dad to fight for what is right. What rights does he have or action he can take?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Family Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If they both own the house, she cannot lock him out--period. Nor can he lock her out. If either tries to lock the other out, the own who was locked out can go to court for an order reinstating him/her in possession (and possibly providing monetary compensation).

It is very unlikely she can get support from him if they were not married--alimony, for example, is only for an ex-spouse. Some states will allow a long-time non-married partner to get some support under certain circumstances, but most likely she will not be able to here.

Whomeever has custody of the child could likely get child support from the other.

If and when the sell the house, if they are both owners, the proceeds should be split. Or one could buy out the interest of the other; or if one wants to sell but the other doesn't (and does not want  to, or is not able to, buy out the one who wants to sell), the court can order a sale and distribution of the assets.

In short, your father does have rights. He should consult with a family law attorney about how best to vindicate them, to disentangle his life from his girlfriend's life, if that's what he wants, and how best to care and provide for his daughter.

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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