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corrected March 23, 2009
If your spouse locks you out of the marital residence and changes the locks so you can’t gain re-entry, that is ABANDONMENT and that is a basis to get a divorce in New York. You could even make out a case of cruelty, I would think. Cause that is straight up ridiculous.
The only thing is, you have to wait a year before you can file the divorce on the basis of ABANDONMENT. I guess the law expects you to live on the streets and bathe in public restrooms for a year before they will have mercy on you and release you from the marriage. If you proceed on the basis of cruelty, you can get a divorce now but you have to show incidences (including the lock out) and you need witnesses, and other evidence.
But seriously, can a spouse just do this? Look, a spouse can do anything if they are crazy. Countess Marie Douglas David allegedly told the Hartford Court that her husband, former UTC CEO George David refused to give her a key to their Avon Connecticut home. Is that a lock out? One might argue that it is tantamount to a lock out. But he didn’t change the locks. It seems, if I understand the reports correctly, he simply did not give her a key –which is inneresting, but perhaps not ABANDONMENT. I mean, I don’t know. I would have to be privy to more facts in that particular instance. It should be noted that the Davids had a whole bunch of homes, so it’s not as if the beautiful countess was living on the streets. Au contraire, she was living it up in a posh Park Avenue triplex.
What do you do if a spouse locks you out of your marital abode? Start with 911. Because even if it is a basis for divorce, you do need to get your clothes and whatever else belongs to you in the apartment/home. This is not exactly a landlord tenant issue, but it is, sort of. There has to be due process. You can’t just throw someone out of their home and lock them out and have them live on the streets. That is insane. You are at least entitled to have the police go back in there and allow you to get your belongings.
But beyond that, you can definitely file for a divorce on the basis of ABANDONMENT. Big time.
March 23, 2009 (I just realized I said it was constructive abandonment to lock your spouse out of the marital residence. That is incorrect. It is abandonment only, not “constructive abandonment.” Constructive abandonment is when your spouse won’t have sex with you. Sorry about that mistake. Slightly hilarious, but definitely incorrect.)