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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37390
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Leased Property dispute in Texas (no divorce filed yet)

Customer Question

Can my husband legally prevent me from returning to and staying in our jointly leased property before a Temporary Order is in place? We are both residents of Texas, and still legally married - no divorce papers have been filed yet. I left temporarily, two months ago because he stopped paying rent on the apartment we jointly agreed to rent for me as a trial separation. I've been staying with friends out of state but need to return to our marital property (it's leased not owned) as all my belongings are there and I'm unemployed. I am a stay at home Mother for our 3 year old son. I have nowhere else to go and no family living in Austin. I need to stay in our rental property for the duration of any impending divorce but he has told me repeatedly he will not let me in the house and will get a restraining order if I try to return there. My name is XXXXX XXXXX lease as well as his. We rented the house together over two years ago. I have only been living separately from him recently and it was mutually agreed upon since I could not afford to rent my own place.


There is something called a Travis County Standing Order which when filed with divorce petitions, prevents either party from disrupting the household or finances or children. We do have a child together. Does this standing order, along with the divorce petition give me protection to stay at the house until Temporary Orders or hearing can take place?


To further complicate this awful situation, my husband, in the two months I've been gone, has moved a girlfriend he is having an affair with into our leased house, which is why he does not want me to return! Can he legally do that and do I have legal rights to be there (all of my personal belongings are there) and have this other woman removed? Thank you for helping me. I am flying back next week and I am seeking an attorney to help me but I need immediate answers if I will be able to stay at the house or not and I'm afraid he will call the police if I show up there when I fly back home.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.

If your name is XXXXX XXXXX lease, then you have the right to joint possession of the property. If your husband refuses to permit entry, you could break in or hire a locksmith to gain access peaceably. The problem is that your access is likely to result in any number of dangerous results, especially due to the presence of the new girlfriend. If a physical altercation or other breach of the peace occurs, then you could find that you, and quite possibly your husband and the girlfriend, will each be arrested. More important, you could find yourself being seriously injured. I've seen this sort of thing occur more than once. Emotions run high, and people get hurt.

The only way to avoid such unpleasantries is to ask the court to issue specific temporary orders, so that you and your husband know where the lines are drawn.

Re the automatic restraining orders, while they probably cover this issue, the police/sheriff can't enforce them against your husband. You would have to file an order to show cause for contempt against your husband and prove that he has interfered with the status quo. All of which takes time.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, you can bring a witness, attempt to peaceably gain access to the property, and if you are locked out, you can call the police/sheriff, who may order your husband to step aside and allow you to enter. But, even if you gain access, you could be injured.

So, it may be better to go only so far as to get evidence that your husband is in contempt of court and violating your property rights, and then ask the court to order him to pay for your substitute housing costs, or for him and his girlfriend to vacate the premises by means of a domestic violence protective order.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37390
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you very much. I have gotten in touch with an attorney to confirm everything you've said and I was advised the same thing - go the proper channels to gain access to the property I have legal right to do, but don't enter on my own until I have that paperwork drawn up. We've started the request for a Temporary Order of Protection of property and assets and will go to ex parte orders (TRO) if my husband still refuses even after I've presented the initial petition for divorce and Standing orders to him. They've assured me this can all be done within 24 hours to ensure I'm not left homeless or living in a motel for an extended period of time.

I honestly do not want a huge confrontation so I am definitely willing to take the legal steps to protect myself and my child. Thank you.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 3 years ago.
I'm very happy to read that you are taking steps to protect yourself and handle this in the appropriate legal manner. Too many people take things into their own hands, and the result is frequently that someone ends up in the hospital, jail or morgue.

Best wishes.

Note: no need to reply to this memo. Good luck!

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