Can one partner lock the other partner out?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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