How do I get my personal belongings if he locks me out?
When you decide to leave your husband, you might not think about taking everything that you own at one time. If you leave because of a domestic violence situation or because you no longer feel safe in the home, then there’s a possibility that you will only get a few articles of clothing and the essentials that you need for a few days. While you’re not at home, your spouse might lock the doors so that you can no longer get back inside to get the rest of your belongings. Fortunately, there are a few options that you have that will aid you in entering the home once again to get the rest of your belongings.
The first thing that you could do is talk to the sheriff’s department. Explain your situation and why you left the home without taking your belongings. If needed, you can file a restraining order or file other charges if you have been threatened or if there is a domestic violence issue taking place. It is beneficial to present proof that you share the home with your spouse and that you are currently still living there as some spouses claim that the other person moved out of the home months prior to wanting their belongings back. However, proof of residence is usually not required if you can show that you do still have belongings in the home. Someone from the sheriff’s department can either schedule a time with your spouse or follow you to the home and wait outside while you get your belongings. A time usually needs to be arranged so that you have the manpower and the equipment needed to get all of your possessions at one time because it’s often not a good idea to try to go back at a later time by yourself.
Sometimes, your spouse might change the locks on the home, preventing you from entering unless you make an arrangement with your spouse or involve law enforcement in some way. You could talk to an attorney who can file an order allowing you to get your belongings from the home if this has happened. Even if the locks haven’t been changed, you can still talk to an attorney about your situation, beginning the divorce process while also getting an order allowing you back into the home for a short time so that you can get the things that are yours. One of the things that you need to keep in mind is that your spouse could claim that some of the things that you want to take aren’t yours. If you share items in the home, such as a television or similar items, then you would need to come to an agreement or go to court to decide who would get these possessions.
In most situations, your spouse cannot lock the door of your home to prevent you from retrieving your belongings. A court order would be needed for this to happen. It is possible to change the locks, but one spouse is generally not able to forbid the other from entering the home once again unless a judge has entered an order to keep you away. If there is no divorce order in place, then you can move back into the home at any time. You could also change the locks to keep your spouse from entering the home again if you feel that you would be threatened. In most situations, it’s often best to get your belongings and find another home if you don’t plan on going back or if you plan to follow through with the divorce.
If you have shown your intent to leave the home, then your spouse can file separation papers, which would begin the required length of time needed until a divorce can be finalized. Each state has its own laws about separation agreements and divorce, so you should contact an attorney who can direct you in the best way if you want to get the rest of your belongings from your home and your spouse locks you out.
An exclusive possession order can be filed by an attorney that will allow you to get your belongings. This is usually filed after a separation agreement has been entered. An order of protection can also be filed if there have been domestic violence issues in the past. This order can be used to keep your spouse from entering the home if you want to stay in the home, forcing him to leave instead of you.