Changing the door locks after a separation or divorce

A common question asked all the time when a couple decides to separate or divorce is, “Can I change the locks so my partner cannot get in”?

Depending on your circumstances the question can be answered with both a yes or no.  If you are living together and not married, it is okay for you to change the locks only if you are the owner of the house.  If you are married and the house is a matrimonial residence, the answer is no.

Changing the locks on a bedroom door is a different matter, especially if there is a chance of potential violence.  Allow the person you want to be kept out to call the police and explain to them that you are trying to protect yourself; you’re not locking the person out of the house.

If violence occurs, call the police yourself and they will most probably remove the other party.

If you have questions regarding whether or not you can change the locks on the front door or just the bedroom door, contact an experienced Orange County Family Law attorney who will discuss your options and rights with you.