Marriage Separation Advice: Can You Change The Locks When She Moves?

St. Louis divorce lawyerQuestion:

I need marriage separation advice on how to handle the marital home and property issues during our separation.

My wife has moved out of the marital home, but when I’m at work she will enter the home and remove property (beds, TVs, etc.) including some of my personal belonging.

Can I change the locks as a way to protect my personal property since she has moved out or will a judge view this as locking her out of the marital home?

Answer:

I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Missouri divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Each state has specific laws regarding how to protect personal property during the pendency of divorce proceedings.

If you have serious concerns that your wife is going to harm, destroy, or steal your personal property, you should contact a mens divorce attorney immediately.

Where I practice, there are no specific laws preventing a spouse from changing the locks on the marital home once the other spouse has moved out. If your wife has stated or implied that she is no longer going to reside at the marital residence, you may be allowed to change the locks.

However, keep in mind that the court may not look favorably on your decision to lock your wife out of the marital home.

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State Property Laws

A better solution for you may be to document all of your personal property, either through pictures, videos, or a list of items. This way, if your wife harms, destroys, or steals any of your separate property you will have documentation of the items when the court begins dividing and valuing your property.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with an attorney in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Brittany Brown, a staff attorney in the St. Louis office, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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