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When Can I Call a Locksmith?

A frequent question posed to divorce lawyers is whether and when you can change the locks to the house. The answer is the same as it is to many legal questions: It depends.

In Indiana, if you are able to establish domestic violence or a threat of abuse, you may be able to obtain a Temporary Restraining Oder that also excludes a spouse from the marital home, by way of a temporary eviction. If granted, a sheriff may arrive and help escort your spouse from the home. Of course, these are temporary orders and a person evicted from his home will be given a quick hearing to oppose the finding. Sometimes, it is necessary in cases of domestic violence to protect yourself and have an abusive or dangerous spouse removed from the home. However, this is not the most common situation.

Usually when a divorce is pending, the couple need to determine who will temporarily or permanently move from the home or seek a provisional hearing to ask the Court to decide. Once a provisional, or temporary, agreement or order is in place granting temporary possession of the home to one party, he or she may change the locks, change the passcode, etc. However, as long as you are married and absent an order or agreement on the basis of the foregoing, there is no legal basis to keep one spouse from the home.

At the center

Beckman Lawson, LLP
201 West Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Phone: 260-422-0800
Fax: 260-420-1013