Melissa, I’ve just started this whole ordeal and my understanding is that he can only take what he brought into the marriage and the rest has to be divided between the two of you b/c it is marital property. Since the lease is in both your names then his name should be able to be taken off (that’s what I’m doing with my landlord). As far as cutting off the utilities goes, I’m not sure. I’ll be interested to see that answer. Good luck.


Dear Melissa Slone:

Greetings. No, if you inform him that he cannot come back in, then he cannot or he will be committing domestic criminal trespass which is a misdemeanor crime in NC.

Now, yes, he can shut off the utilities. Yes, he can refuse to pay the rent. Your only recourse if he does this is to file a claim for alimony, which you may not receive much of due to the short length of your marriage. Good luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.


My husband walked out and won’t tell where he has gone. We have been married for 7 months and he says he’s tried hard enough and doesn’t want to be married anymore. Both of our names are on the lease (we rent) and all of the utilities are in his name. Can he come into the house at will and remove things? Can he shut off the utilities? I can’t put them in my name because of my credit. Can he refuse to pay the rent? I want him to get help, but want to make sure I’m covered in case I come home and everything is gone. Thank you,