My wife changed the locks!


Dear Hammer45:

Greetings. First, I doubt the police told her to change the locks. Instead, she may have received legal advice from an attorney to do so. Since she is in the home and you are out, she is now setting herself up to receive plently of alimony from you. I sure hope that you discussed with an attorney your situation prior to moving out!

Now that you are out though, let’s look at the situation. You will have to negotiate with someone who is receiving a “free ride” to re-enter the house, to sell the house, for her to move out, or to refinance the house. Your stuff is now sitting in a home that you cannot enter.

Despite the fact that your name is on the title and you are paying the mortgage, you cannot re-enter the marital residence if she has told you not to return. If you re-enter the residence, you will be committing domestic criminal trespass. If she has never told you not to return, I would immediately move back in and start to negotiate a separation agreement.

No matter what you chose to do, see an attorney for advice and tol have them help you negotiate with your wife. Currently your wife has the upper hand in the negotiations, but this can be remedied with quick action on your part. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

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.


I moved out of the house about 3 weeks ago, but continue to make the entire mortgage payment. I also store some of my ‘stuff’ in the garage, as there is not enough room in my apartment. My wife makes no payments whatsoever toward the mortgage, but of course her name is on the title to the house.

Last night I stopped by the house to pick up some mail, and found she had changed the lock on the door! She said she “didn’t trust me” (although she admitted there has NEVER been even the most remote threat of violence of ANY kind), and she also said the “police told her she could change the lock”.

HOW can this be? This is a house that I bought using my own credit and income: she has not contributed one cent to it’s purchase or the monthly payments and is living there for ‘free’. HOW can it be legal to deny me access to my own house?