Changing the Locks during a divorce

Sometimes the first action in a separation or divorce is when a spouse moves out. When a spouse moves out of the house, oftentimes the spouse who remains changes the locks. This is something that you can do, however, it is not always assurance that they will not get back into the home unless their exit was the result of a Protection from Abuse. Until you have an exclusive possession order signed by a Judge during your divorce, a spouse could legally gain entry to the home by breaking a window or any other method. In order to get an exclusive possession order, you would have to file a Petition for Special Relief and ask that Court to enter an order while the divorce is pending to award you the home. If your spouse left and has another residence that he/she has established, it is very probable that the court will award you the right to live in the home and your spouse will not be allowed in at that point without your consent. Once you have that Order from the Court, you can be assured that a violation of that Order will result in Contempt of Court. If you are the spouse who left, until that Order is entered by the Court, you can usually move back into the house if you change your mind. Getting an Order in place is something to consider to eliminate unexpected surprises.