When you’ve been with someone for a long time, or even married them, you think about building a life together. One of the most important aspects of building that “perfect life” is getting a home together! However, that also ends up being one of the most important things if things don’t end up working out and you have to go your separate ways.
When this happens, you might think “Oh, they moved out, I should be able to just change the locks!” right? Well, the answer might not be as simple as a yes or no. To get to that, we first have to tackle which cases is it okay to change the locks in, and which one’s you shouldn’t be changing them in!
First, we need to tackle the question “Who’s house is it?”
Whether you moved into the home together, or one after the other, there’s always the question of who is really “responsible” for the house. This is usually determined by whose name the house is under! However, people break up even without buying a house. In that case, the question would be who’s name is the rental agreement under?
Both of these questions will have one of the two answers:
- Either, One person owns the house or has signed the lease
- Or, both people own the house or have signed the lease together.
The first scenario – Both of you own the house or have signed the lease
If you and your ex-partner have bought or rented your home together, until a new agreement is signed, both of you have the legal right to stay in that house. In this case, it wouldn’t be the best idea to change the locks without their consent. That is because technically, they own the house too! So, even if you change the locks on them in this case, they could just bring a locksmith of their own over and have them break the locks and change them back!
Since they’re legally supposed to be there, they can gain entry to the home however they see fit. So if they change the locks again, you might just find yourself in a lock changing battle! One that may go on forever. In this case, it’s better to figure out a way to come to an agreement instead. Whether that’s both of you having access to the keys, or agreeing to change the locks so the other doesn’t have access to it anymore and then keep things that way. This is a more sensitive issue and is going to have to be dealt with before you can bring a locksmith in.
The second scenario – Only one of you own the house or have signed the lease
If only one of you owns the house or has signed the lease, and the owner of the house decides to stay in the house and the ex-partner moves out, most of the time, they legally won’t have the right to be in that house. Although, this might vary from state to state so it would be best to talk to a divorce lawyer in this case and get their take on it. If they say that they aren’t legally allowed to be in that house you can call a locksmith in Birmingham, or a recommended locksmith in your local area, and have them come in and change the locks for you! The process is fairly quick and simple, and you can even choose which types of locks you want! So this would be a good time to switch to a different type of lock or up your security with an electronic lock or an anti-snap lock to prevent any break-ins!