Saratoga Divorce Attorney Discusses Changing Locks on the Marital Home
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Is it a crime if a relative who is not on my lease breaks/alters my apt door lock to gain entry to my apt?
My marriage is currently contentious and one day I refused to let my husband inside the apt. He spends 98% of his time away at his relatives so I treated his attempt to come in as I would any visitor. He is still on the apt lease.
My father in law who is NOT on the lease decided in order to show who’s boss that he and my husband will now sleep over at my apt each night. The apt has a screen door and inner door. If the screen door is locked one cannot enter the apt even with a key. So my father in law took it upon himself to alter my screen door lock in such a way that I cannot lock it. I believe he took off the strike plate from the screen door lock.
I called maintenance and a new lock was installed but it was done while my father in law was there and by the time I got to it, it had been tampered with again… so I still cannot lock my screen door and he can gain entry whenever he pleases.
I’ve called maintenance once more and this time if it is tampered with is this something I can press charges for? Can it be a police matter? I don’t know how to make him stop doing this short of involving the law. Is this vandalism or breaking and entering?
You should consult with an experienced local family & matrimonial attorney.
It is improper for a 3rd party to damage your residence or gain access without the consent of a legal resident, and you can contact the police for assistance in that situation. With that being said, your husband will likely be considered a legal resident of the apartment if he is on the lease, and/or he claims the apartment to be his primary residence. Short of getting a court order keeping your husband away from your residence, your only option to fully keep him away from your residence would be for him to be formally evicted (which is governed by landlord/tenant law).
A family & matrimonial attorney can help you assess your case. If you are the victim of domestic violence or a family offense has been committed against you, you may be able to file a Family Offense Petition in the Albany County Family Court to receive an Order of Protection keeping your husband (and Father in Law) away. Alternatively, in the context of a divorce action, among many other things, an attorney can help you file for “exclusive use and occupancy” of your residence. In divorce, often such a motion will be granted when the other party has established a residence elsewhere, or if there is a history of domestic violence, as well as in many other situations.
Are you having trouble with your ex-spouse regarding your marital home following a divorce or separation? If so, contact the experienced Saratoga Divorce Attorney Jennifer Sunderlin.