Ask a Cop? Getting my stuff back – Civil Standby?

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QUESTION:

Tennessee does not recognize legal separation to my understanding prior to divorce court. If we are still married and spouse changes the locks to prevent me obtaining my personal property, what would be repercussions of entering the home when spouse and / or any other legal resident of the home is not currently there in the home or on the property?

ANSWER:

The safest way is to call the police and have them do a civil standby. That way if your spouse tries to claim you took property that wasn’t yours or vandalized the home you’ll have proof because the police were there. BUT, you say the  locks were changed, that means you’d have to break in. In some states you can legally break into your own home if you have property inside but I don’t know about TN law. Technically if you still have personal property there such as clothes and other personal property that are specifically yours and not shared, you are entitled to it. But if you’ve moved out already then it can get tricky, especially if you go in when no one is there. Any property that is shared or considered community property usually needs to be decided in court by a judge. I’d call the police for a civil standby and go when the other spouse is there. Might have better luck getting your personal stuff if the police are with you.   

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