Can my ex-husband legally change the locks on our home that has both our names on it?

I left our home 2 years ago when we seperated. We got a divorce a year and a half later. The house has both our names on it, and in the divorce I agreed to allow him to live in it temporarily. We have a dog that also lives with him, as I am still trying to get the hundreds of dollars this apartment charges for her to move in. I frequently use my house key to visit her, and she comes over for sleepovers with my daughter every now and then. We were on friendly terms and then, without my knowledge, he changed the locks. He claims he will let me in when he is home, and I’m free to visit as much as I’d like, but he currently has not been home to let me in. My question is if this is legal. I willingly left the home, but in the papers it says I’m still the other owner of the house. Can he just change the locks without even letting me know? Do I have the right to use a locksmith if he continues denying me access? Thanks in advance.


In my State, yes, he can if he is the sole occupant, which seems to be the case.


Normally, if both of your names are on it, then you both have a right to access it. How the divorce papers, and your written, signed agreement (concerning his use of the house), are worded, will have weight in this matter. If he has a written contract stating that he has use of the house (such as in a tenant that's renting), then he can expect to be notified before anyone else enters the house. You might consider having a conversation with him, to air any questions.

heart o' gold

You don’t have a right to use a locksmith, you are divorced, you don’t live there and frankly in my opinion it is totally inappropriate for you to let yourself into the home he lives in. Obviously he thinks so too. are just a troll. Get your story straight. Is it a house or an apartment? Do you own it or not? You get charged for a dog in your own home? See...troll...

What You Talkin' About?

If you abandoned the residence then it may legally be considered his residence and not yours. Legally, no one is required to give people who do not live there keys to their house. I don't blame him for not wanting you coming and going freely when he is not home.

Barb Outhere

IF it was your principal residence I'd say he couldn't get away with it BUT... Since you moved out so long ago I'd say its perfectly reasonable. You have another residence, and have had for over a year, so have not resided there for a while. Does he have the keys to your place? No? So why should you have the keys to what is essentially "his" place until things are settled in a divorce. Worried about the dog? See if you can have her full time.

Ross James

In most states, he is the resident with all the rights, which include changing locks and security. I have a NOVEL idea. Why don't you try to be NICE to him and maybe he will give you a key again. I'm sure there is more to this story than what you are telling.

Coach Simon

"Legally"? Ask a lawyer where you live. What might be legal in Florida or Scotland might not be the same in New Zealand.