Should you change the locks?

When it comes to personal security following filing for divorce, one of the most common questions that comes up concerns changing the locks on the house. Will you be in the right if you go ahead and change the locks?

In general, here’s what it takes: Once your spouse has moved out, you can file a motion asking the court to grant you sole occupancy. (Your spouse is still an owner of the home, but the court order gives you possession.) If the motion is granted, you may want to change the locks. You can also ask your attorney about getting a court order that gives you exclusive possession of the home, which will bolster your right to change the locks.

What else should you think about if/once you’ve been granted exclusive possession? Basic security measures may include resetting your home security system so that it takes a new code, changing the access code on your answering machine, and making sure your spouse has returned the car garage remote (or read the instruction manual on how to change the signal). You may also want to think about a new place to hide any spare keys to the house. Also, don’t forget changing padlocks or combination locks on any storage sheds or doors.

Have you changed the locks yet?