Can I Lock My Spouse Out of the House?

SHORT ANSWER: NO

Neither party can lock the other out of the marital home even if the marital home is the separate property of one of the spouses.

A spouse can seek exclusive occupancy in a divorce action based upon the other spouse creating an environment in the home that renders it physically or emotionally unsafe for them or the children to continue living there as a family unit. This generally requires a hearing before the Court.

A spouse may also request of the court (Family or Supreme) an order of protection seeking to have the other spouse removed from the home for having committed a family offense or offenses. Family offenses are enumerated “crimes” as set forth in the penal code including:

Disorderly conduct, harassment in the first degree, harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree, sexual abuse in the second degree as set forth in subdivision one of section 130.60 of the penal law, stalking in the first degree, stalking in the second degree, stalking in the third degree, stalking in the fourth degree, criminal mischief, menacing in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, reckless endangerment, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, strangulation in the second degree, strangulation in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the first degree, assault in the third degree, an attempted assault, identity theft in the first degree, identity theft in the second degree, identity theft in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, grand larceny in the third degree or coercion in the second degree as set forth in subdivision one, two and three of section 135.60 of the penal law between spouses or former spouses, or between parent and child or between members of the same family or household except that if the respondent would not be criminally responsible by reason of age pursuant to section 30.00 of the penal law, then the family court would have exclusive jurisdiction over such proceeding.

There are elements of each of the crimes listed above that must be met.

 

This does not and cannot serve as legal advice. The answers only apply in the State of New York. You are advised to speak with an attorney.

 

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