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Can I get my things? Separated from husband (not legally).

Seattle, WA |

My husband and I are not legally separated but I have moved out. I have talked to him about coming to get my things but he says he won't allow me to come while he's not there. We are both listed on the lease agreement and I have a key to the house. He's making it impossible for me to come at reasonable hours (saying I have to come between 9pm and 9:30 on Friday to get my things). I want to just go in and get my things before he changes the locks. Can I do that?

Attorney Answers 3


Unless there is a court order prohibiting you from being in the residence or taking things from it, you would not be breaking any law being in a place where you have the lawful right to be and taking your things.

Of course, while you may not be breaking any law, depending on the temperament of you and the husband, things can escalate and get out of control.

One option you may have is to call the local police and ask an officer for a "civil standby". The officer will accompany you to the premises (after you show the officer that you have a legal right to be there) and make sure that everyone behave civilly. You may have to be able to get things quickly (like within 30 minutes). Call the police on their non-emergency number.

You can also get a court order.

You can review the specific facts with your attorney to find out your legal options.

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Asking for a civil standby order is a prduent option. If divorce is on the horizon, file a petition for dissolution and file a motion for temporary orders requiring him to let you get all your things at a specific time; if he then does not comply, he is in contempt and you have legal options at that point.

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In practical terms, you are both allowed to be there under the facts you stated. He's using the power he thinks he has to control the situation. Unless you think there's a remote chance he boobytrapped the place, go by and take what you want when you want. Probably best to do it when you can get it all at once, as you may only get one chance before he changes the locks. :) To keep things peaceful, only take what you believe you are entitiled to. If not sure take it. Sounds like it will be better to take and give back than try and get him to cooperate.

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