What to do about an illegal eviction where one spouse locks out the other spouse?

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What to do about an illegal eviction where one spouse locks out the other spouse?

My father and step-mother are getting a divorce. My father and I left the residence for a few months. When we went back to the residence we were allowed in. We spent the night in the house and went to work the next day. However when we came home from work we found the few things that we had brought with us back into the house were put on the sidewalk and all the doors were locked. We were not told by my stepmother that we were not allowed back in the house. Which laws does this break, if any, and could you give a list of the “codes”. Both his and her names are on the deed.

Asked on August 11, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation.  Only a local attorney would be able to give you all the exact laws that were broken here but I can give your Dad some general guidance.  She may claim that you abandoned the property by leaving.  However, there was evidence that you returned and that there in fact was no "intent" to abandon.  Paying the bills while you were gone could also be evidence of that.  Now, if your Dad owns the property she has no right - absent an agreement or a court order giving her exclusive use and occupancy - to change the locks.  Your Dad needs to see an attorney as soon as possible. Putting the stuff on the sidewalk could be deemed conversion of the property as well.  Good luck.


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