Can a wife lock out her husband or his family, if they are getting divorced?

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Can a wife lock out her husband or his family, if they are getting divorced?

A son has a house he bought 7 years ago. He is now getting a divorce from his wife. He is not living in the house and signed over a Power of Attorney to his parents so they could watch over his property. The wife has changed the locks on the doors so his parents can’t come in. She has an apartment and she has been moving items into it. Can his parents legally have her removed from the house with the help of a police officer? Their son is afraid she will clean out the house since he cannot go to his home to check himself.

Asked on July 6, 2015 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

She may not legally lock him out, since as an owner (and spouse), he has a perfect legal right to enter, occupy, etc. the house. He can go to the courts and get a court order forcing her to let him--or his parents--in. He, in turn, cannot lock her out--as the spouse, she, too, has the right to enter, occupy, use, etc. the home. If there is anything which she improperly took, that can be addressed during the divorce proceedings, since it will affect the distribution of assets (if she already "helped herself" to things she shouldn't have, she should get less from the court in compensation). The son should retain an attorney to help him with the divorce and related issues, if he has not already done so.


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