Can You Change The Locks To Get Your Spouse Out During Divorce?

Hey, what's up everyone? Divorce attorney in Chicago. Bobby Buchanan here. This is Illinois divorce TV. Today we're talking about whether or not you can change the locks on your spouse before or during a divorce. So let's assume that you and your spouse are living together in the house and things have broken down as far as the marriage goes, and your spouse decides that they're going to take some personal property from the house and move it out of the house. So while they're out of the house, you're saying, well, they can't come back in because if they do, they're going to take more. So you change the locks. What's going to happen? Well, it depends on what your spouse wants to do. Technically what you've done is what they call self-help eviction, which is not allowed in Illinois. You can't evict somebody from a house without going through the proper legal channels.

So if your spouse is inclined to get back into the house, what they will most likely do is file a motion in divorce court saying that you even did them and that they need immediate access to the house. At that point, you'll be embroiled in litigation and you'll be saying to the court, well, my spouse took all this furniture or all these, you know, all this expensive clothing or, or whatever it is and she or he might do it again and the court will decide the exact remedy that should happen at that point. But most likely that remedy is going to be that your spouse does get to remain in the house and that none of the personal property is going to be removed from the house. There is another route though to get your spouse out of the house if you don't want them in there during a divorce.

And that is what's called a petition for exclusive possession of the marital property. Now a petition for exclusive possession is only granted by the court. One spouse is only going to be kicked out if you can demonstrate that by them remaining in the house. It creates some sort of toxic environment basically that is unsustainable, um, by unsustainable during the divorce proceeding. So you really have to reach a high bar of showing the court why exactly you both can't remain in the house together. You most likely see that in situations where there are children involved and it's getting very, very toxic in the house. So for the best interest of the children, one of the parents needs to get out. I hope that has clarified the situation for you. If you have any comments, let me know in the comments below. Questions, concerns, anything like that, I'd be happy to chat further. See you on the next episode. Talk to you soon.


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