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change the locks
November 14, 2004
11:57 am
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Traildawg
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My ex refuses to give up the house key because he is still paying half of the mortgage... When we run into each other in public, as was last evening, he becomes hateful, and verbally abusive. This time he had be very afraid. I have a 16 year old son in the house with me. Do I have the right to change the locks because of my fear?

November 14, 2004
12:00 pm
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Zinnie
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Are you two legally married?

November 14, 2004
12:01 pm
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Traildawg
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Actually we are divorced, our Divorce was final at the end of July 2004.

November 14, 2004
12:07 pm
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Zinnie
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You have absolutely every right to change the locks. If paying the mortgage was part of the divorce, then he has to comply. However, that does NOT give him the right to come in any time he pleases, or treat you hatefully when you see him out in public.

Also, if you are afraid of him - get a restaining order. You are a human being, as you have the God given right to be treated with dignity and respect and not to live in fear.

Z.

November 14, 2004
12:07 pm
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Worried_Dad
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If the divorce settlement says that you live in the house, then you have the right to change the locks.

Has he been violent physically with you? You may be able to get a protection order.

November 14, 2004
12:15 pm
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RDeckard
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I live in Britain and sometimes a restraining order is not worth the paper its written on.

November 14, 2004
3:29 pm
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readyforachange
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You have the right to change the locks any time you feel you need to protect yourself or your belongings. Even if the divorce weren't final, if you are feeling threatened or afraid, you can change the locks. I recently had a similar situation and did not change the locks after my husband left and turned his key over. He came back and broke in, and I had to file a restraining order. I should have changed the locks, but no amount of locks would have kept him out. He didn't want anything, except to intimidate me and send me a message that he could get in, read my maill, listen to my messages, etc....

However, you have a totally different situation. Your divorce is final, and he has been ordered to pay half of the mortgage. That means its your house...I'd change the locks NOW. If you have to consider doing it, that means you have a reason to fear him, so follow through. Good luck.

November 14, 2004
11:33 pm
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bkc
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I hear what everyone is saying, and I agree. My two cents: change the locks and do something about the verbal abuse. I suggest speaking with which ever individual is trained to handle domestic situations at your local police precinct. Verbal abuse is wrong and is usually considered a crime in the context of former spouses.

It's important to demonstrate very clearly to your ex that you will not tolerate any abuse or transgression. If you do this now it might save you from a much worse situation later.

If you're uncertain about the legality of changing the locks, ask the police or a lawyer. I'm almost a lawyer myself (just a little more law school, then the bar exam) and I have no hesitation in advising you to change the locks.

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