If my soon to be ex-wife left our marital home over 9 months ago, can she still enter the home as she pleases?

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If my soon to be ex-wife left our marital home over 9 months ago, can she still enter the home as she pleases?

My wife and I have been separated since 01/09; our divorce will be finalized in 11/10. She left the home back in 01/09. Recently she let herself into the house and went through my personal belongings accusing me of “cheating” on her. Does she legally have the right to do this?

Asked on October 7, 2010 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless the divorce has been finalized or you have gone to court and temporary orders have been issued giving your the right to the house, there really isn't anything that you can do.  At this point, she house is still considered to be the joint marital residence (this is true even if her personal belongings out).  You should speak to your attorney or the court about this. And whatever you do, do not be tempted to use a little self-help such as changing the locks.  There could be penalties if you do.

Note:  If she puts you in fear for your personal physical safety, then you may be able to apply for a protective order which would result in her being prohibted from entry.


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