One question that is frequently asked is whether someone can put his/her spouse out of the home without his/her consent.  When spouses cannot get along and at least one party realizes that they are headed toward separation or divorce, this issue must be addressed sooner or later.

The answer is that until and unless the Family Court issues an Order stating otherwise, both spouses have equal rights to the residence.  As such, each can try to put or keep the other out, typically by changing the locks and alarm codes.  However, the displaced spouse can take any necessary steps to regain entry to the home, including "breaking in" if necessary.  One cannot be criminally charged in South Carolina for breaking into his/her own home. 

Once the Family Court addresses this issue, an Order will be issued which clearly sets forth the parties’ rights, responsibilities, and obligations with regard to the home.  Such an Order will generally set forth which party has the exclusive temporary use and possession of the home, as well as how the expenses related to the home will be paid as the case progresses.

Please note that I am not recommending that anyone put his/her spouse out of the house or that anyone forcibly break back into his/her home.  Those issues are very fact specific and trial strategy  with an experienced family law attorney should play an important role in making such a decision.

SOURCE: South Carolina Family Law Blog