To Lock or Not? – that is the Question!
When parties separate, does one spouse have the right to lock the other spouse out of the family home?
It’s one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from my family law clients. Notwithstanding urban myths to the contrary, or whatever nonsense my client’s spouse might authoritatively pronounce on the subject, here’s my response:
It all depends.
I’m much more inclined to recommend that my client consider this temporary option, in the event of one, or more, of the following factors:
(a) the client and his, or her, spouse are unable, for whatever reason, (ie. violence, incompatibility etc.), to continue to co-habit in the same family residence;
(b) the client has young children who would be disrupted by any relocation;
(c) the client does not have access to affordable, alternate, accommodation
Of course, in addition to the cost of changing the various locks, if there is another individual in the family residence who might provide access to the locked out spouse, then the entire exercise may simply be a waste of time, (and money). And if, as some of my family law clients have discovered, you discover, to your shock and dismay, that you have been locked out of the family home, it is not a good idea to attempt to use force to break into the family residence, (whether or not your name is on title).
If you do, you could find yourself the unwitting subject of criminal charges. And mixing criminal charges with family matters is never a good thing.
So, if, and when, you choose to lock your spouse out of the home, or find yourself locked out, it’s definitely time to call me. I can help you find the key to unlocking your legal success.
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