My rights

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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My rights

I am 15 years married , my wife left me alone , she abandoned the house ,
changed her postal address .
The house is in both of our names and totally paid of .
Can I change the locks ??
What are my rights here .

Asked on December 28, 2016 under Family Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unless there is a formal separation agreemnt in effect or a final decree of divorce has been issued, then the property remains as the "joint marital residence". This means that both you and your spouse have the right to occupy it, no matter whose name or names is on the deed. That having been said, if she has indeed abandoned the property, you may be able to go to court to obtain sole rights to occupancy of the house. However, until you do, you cannot lock your ex out.

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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