Is it illegal if I changed the house locks after my wife moved out?

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Is it illegal if I changed the house locks after my wife moved out?

We have lived separately for 3 months and I know she has had boyfriend.We are both the owner’s of the house. I’ve informed her by email that she ‘s always welcome home any time and just let me know in advance day and time she want to come back to the house so that I can open the house door for her. She never answer if she want to keep the house therefore I ‘ve paid the home mortgage for 3 months after she moved out. By law, will she be responsible for half of the amount I ‘ve paid ?

Asked on October 23, 2010 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  May I suggest that at this point in time you seek legal help from an attorney in your area and please do so right away.

No, you should not change the locks until you have a court order that grants you temporary occupancy and allows you to do so or you have an agreement with your wife in writing that you have occupancy and can do so. You wife is just as responsible as you are for the mortgage payments.  So you should be given a "credit" toward what you have paid on your own in the settlement negotiations.  Remember that California is a community property state.  Good luck.


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