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Can I lock my husband out of our house?

East Setauket, NY |

My husband is having an affair, and he refuses to end it. Both of our names are on the deed to the house. Can I change the locks to the house and lock him out since he refuses to leave?

Attorney Answers 3


I am so sorry. Your best bet is to get a court order removing him from the home. The court will be very sympathetic to your actions. However, it is never good to just take the law into your own hands.

I would file a complaint for divorce and ask him to leave at the same time. If he threatens you and you feel at all in imminent fear or harm to yourself or your family you may call the police. That will solve the problem as they will remove him from the property and help you gain a restraining order.

The courts and the authorities are here to help you. You pay for them with your tax dollars, use their services and protect yourself.

Take good care.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.

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Unfortunately, unless you have exclusive occupancy of the marital residence, you cannot change the locks and lock him out.

In order to get exclusive occupancy, first, you have to file for divorce. Once filed, you can make an application asking the court to grant you exclusive occupancy of the marital residence pending the finalization of your divorce. In order to obtain exclusive occupancy, you would have to show that either 1) your spouse's presence has caused domestic strife and that he has established an alternative residence or 2) exclusive occupancy is necessary to protect safety of persons or property.

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You cannot lock your husband out of the house for having an affair. If you do so, your husband could obtain an order from the court forcing you to change the locks so that he can return to your home. He could even be granted an order of protection against you.

If there is domestic violence occurring in your home, you could seek an order of protection which could possibly result in having your husband excluded from the house.

If your husband does not agree to leave voluntarily and if there is no domestic violence going on in the household, you must file a divorce action to start the process of trying to have your husband moved out of your home. If you do not have children, the court may not order anyone out of the house and instead would order the sale. If you have minor children and you have primary custody, you may get to stay in the house until the youngest child is 18. Without consent or domestic violence, your husband would get to stay in the divorce until ordered out after trial.

You should consult with an experienced matrimonial lawyer in your area.

Good luck!

Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitution for legal advice. Answering a question does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, you should consult or retain legal counsel.

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