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Changing the Locks During Divorce by Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor

Divorce 911: I’ve Been Locked Out of My Georgia House

By Mary Stearns-Montgomery | Aug 07, 2013 | Divorce
 

Have You Been Locked Out of Your Home Because of a Divorce in Georgia?

In the wake of the Real Housewives of Atlanta reality TV cast member Porsha Stewart and former NFL star Kordell Stewart’s divorce earlier this year in Fulton County, GA, Porsha Stewart recently told reporters that her former husband had locked her out of their Atlanta home they shared during the marriage. Her attorney had to ask his reps for a copy of the key to access the home and collect her belongings. Changing the locks to your home during a divorce is nothing new or out of the ordinary.

Should You Change the Locks if You Get Divorced?

In a situation where a spouse is forced to move out or says they will move out, it gives the other spouse an excuse to change the locks. Typical reasons why people change the locks to their home are to prevent the risk of their ex taking and hiding assets and to ensure there is notice of an attempt to access the home.

If you fear for you and your children’s personal safety, especially if he/she has committed an act of domestic violence or abuse, then you should petition the court for a temporary protective order to keep them away, and the judge can also order him/her to pay child support.

The Consequences of Changing the Locks During a Georgia Divorce

Georgia is an “equitable distribution state,” which means all marital property acquired during the marriage is subject to being divided fairly. If the house is purchased or paid for during the marriage, it’s considered marital property in Georgia. Both spouses are legally entitled to enter and exit the home as they please, unless a court rules otherwise.

Your home is defined not only as your “real property” but can include a leased or rental home. There are several options for dividing fairly your home within your divorce and separate maintenance agreement.

  • One spouse can sign over the entire interest of the home to the other spouse; or
  • Both spouses can agree to sell the home; or
  • Give the right of the spouse (usually the custodial parent) to live in the home for a certain period of time, until the children reach a certain age

Remedy This Dirty Divorce Trick

Avoid this type of dirty divorce trick by keeping the lines of communication open during the divorce. Discuss with your soon-to-be ex the assets, scheduling times to collect belongings, what will happen to the property and other arrangements.
Before you call a locksmith, think about your motive for doing so and what the outcomes of doing this may be. With that said and mentioned above, schedule a consultation to meet with an experienced divorce attorney. Changing the locks for no legitimate reason and not making your ex aware of the change can provoke the other side and may result in both a lengthy divorce battle and possibly losing your case.

Speak To Our Caring Family Law Attorneys Today

If you’re going through a divorce and suspect your soon-to-be ex is capable of changing the locks and doing things behind your back, turn to the experienced divorce attorneys at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor. We will discuss the specifics of your case and potential outcomes of your Georgia divorce. To schedule a consultation today, call us at 770-280-1488 or complete a contact form.

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