Can my son-in-law lock my daughter out from their house before they get a divorce? 22 Answers as of June 25, 2013

My daughter has been married for 8 years. Her husband got angry because she refused to sign permission for him to read her therapist’s notes before she read them herself. He abandoned her and had the locks changed on their home. The home was purchased by his mother. Did he have a legal right to lock her out?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
This sound like it could be an abusive situation. In general, she does not have to consent to anyone reading her therapist's notes, and she should consider anyone requesting to do so with a wary eye. If this is indeed an abusive situation or if she thinks that it might become abusive, I would suggest that she contact the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. If she wants to get her things from the house, I would suggest that she contact the police about getting a civil standby.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/12/2011
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson
Law Office of Margaret D. Wilson | Margaret Wilson
In California when a party files for dissolution of marriage there are standard restraining orders which basically prevent a lockout.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/12/2011
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
No, but his behavior is not illegal either. She is married with a right to live there, but sounds like that may not be in her interest right now.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/12/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
No he can not legally lock her out of the house.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/25/2013
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
He can lock her out, but, by the same token, she can break in. She has as much legal right to occupy the premises as her spouse.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/12/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No. If they are married and that is the marital home, she can legally break into the house if she wants to.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    No, not even close. In fact, your daughter can file for a Temporary Restraining Order against him, and might get him kicked out of the house. The police might intervene to help her to peaceably retrieve some of her belongings, but it would be best to file. She might want to file for divorce (Dissolution) while she is at it (he sounds like a miserable person, and who would want to be live with him, anyway). Legally, she has a right to live in the residence, and he should have to file an Unlawful Detainer. Again, she should file for a TRO. A Court would make orders regarding the property at an Order to Show Cause Hearing if she filed for divorce, but it could take several weeks to get a court date.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Holmes Law Offices
    Holmes Law Offices | Martin M. Holmes
    Until there is a court order saying different, it his house he can change the locks if he wants. It is also her residence and she can enter and change the locks back. I suggest that she get an attorney, and get an order giving her exclusive possession of the house, before he does.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    What he did is not "illegal" so the question is really what your daughter needs/wants to do. Legally, he can do whatever she lets him get away with. Since it doesn't sound like the marriage is worth saving, she needs to file for divorce and begin the process of ending the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Absolutely not! Any Court will direct him to open the house up to her again and perhaps they would throw him out for such immature antics. It's best to hire a lawyer toassist her though. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Unless he obtained an court order granting him exclusive use of the marital home or obtained a personal protection order prohibiting her from entering the home, she has just as much right as he does to be there. Sounds as if she should consider filing for a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    He should have obtained a court order.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    No he does not have the right to lock her out as this is her legal residence. The larger question is what is your daughter planning on doing about it? She may be able to get herself back into the house, but then what? I suggest your daughter consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss her case in greater detail and learn all of her rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    She has a legal right to reside in the house. Please consult with an attorney to have your daughter file a divorce petition and a motion to return to the family home.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    No, he has no legal right to lock out wife. She should file a motion, assuming a divorce case has been opened, requesting orders on who lives in the residence, and who has access at what times. Call a lawyer for help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    He didn't have the right to lock her out, and he doesn't have the right to read her therapist's notes. She should hire an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent her in the divorce, and to file an Ex Parte Application for orders allowing her to move back into the residence and requiring the husband to provide her keys. She could also sue him for forceable detainer in the Civil Court for locking her out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/8/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington she could go to court and have her access to the house determined.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/8/2011
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