I would like to move back home to be there for my children, but my wife has changed the locks on the doors and will not allow me to move back.
Do I have the legal right to enter the marital home if I have moved out during our separation?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on New Jersey divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
Unfortunately, you have made the mistake that most men make in divorce and separation cases, which is leaving the marital home under the belief that it is the right thing to do.
As long as the circumstances are appropriate, Cordell & Cordell attorneys always advise our clients to remain in the home no matter how difficult that may be. While you indicated that you want to take care of your children, the presumption in the eyes of many judges is that you abandoned them by leaving the home.
Courts utilize a best interest standard in determining child custody. Therefore, the longer you are out of the home and away from the children the harder it will be to argue that it is in the children’s best interest for you to have custody.
Stupid Divorce Mistakes:
Where I practice, absent a restraining order a court cannot order a spouse to move out of the marital home. Given the length of time that you have been living away from the home, your best option for returning to the marital residence would be to file a formal motion with the court to allow you to return to the marital home and to compel your spouse to either change the locks back or provide you with a new key to the home.
Child custody and divorce related issues are complex and depends on the specific facts of each case.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.