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Advice re access to marital home

(36 Posts)
speaker Sun 25-Aug-13 22:24:08

My ex husband of 21 yrs moved out of our family home in March this year. He is. for now, continuing to pay our joint mortgage as he is the sole earner. Does anyone know what his rights are to access the house when I'm not home?

titchy Sun 25-Aug-13 22:57:51

Same rights as you.

cjel Sun 25-Aug-13 22:59:52

Its his house as much as yours,you could change locks if you lost the keys but he could change them back!!!

mumtobealloveragain Mon 26-Aug-13 00:25:55

As the others said, he has the same rights to access the home as you do. He can use it to live in, sleep in, store his belongings in etc.

If he is violent or causing you harm then you could report to Police and try for an occupation order (I believe they are called).

You can change locks but are on shaky legal ground to do so without reasons (not wanting him to have access is not considered a good reason) and if he requested keys you would be obliged to provide him with new ones.

Is he coming and going lots or just popping in when he needs to get stuff? I'd be wary of causing to much of a stink about it given that he's paying the full mortgage repayments on a home he's no longer living in and has to pay for his own home too. He could just stop paying to spite you!

Viviennemary Mon 26-Aug-13 00:35:30

I would imagine if he is continuing to pay the mortgage then it is his house so he can have access to it. Unless he is causing trouble.Why is he paying the mortgage if he's moved out.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 26-Aug-13 07:33:50

I was advised by my solicitor that whilst my ExH's name was on the deeds he was a co-owner and entitled to access (in the absence of violence). However, it was pointed out that as a woman living alone no one would criticise me for adding additional bolts to the doors for security.

STIDW Mon 26-Aug-13 09:20:19

Rights of ownership need to be balanced against the rights to respect to privacy and a family a life (Article 8, Human Rights Act 1998). The property is still your home and it isn't your husband's home now, he doesn't live there anymore. If there is a valid reason why he requires access to it would be reasonable for it to be agreed at a mutually convenient time.

Joy5 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:38:58

I was in the same position last year, my ex was coming into the family home when i was out.

Checked with my solicitor and ex's don't have any rights to access the family home once they've moved out and removed their belongings.

I was told it was ok to change the locks so I did. Ex wasn't happy, but there was nothing he could do.

Just because the ex might be paying maintenance does not give them the right to access the family home. My solicitor was quite adament about that.

titchy Tue 27-Aug-13 20:00:56

Joy he's not paying maintenance he's paying the mortgage. He co-owns the house.

mumtobealloveragain Tue 27-Aug-13 20:27:14

But Joy was you ex partner a joint owner/paying the mortgage? If not then that's why it was unreasonable of him to expect access to the former family home.

babybarrister Tue 27-Aug-13 21:13:42

Whilst I agree theatre the payment of maintenance is irrelevant, there is no right for either spouse to exclude the other from their home and nothing to stop your ex returning to live there.

Please get proper legal advice - have a look at the Resolution website lusting specialist family lawyers

cjel Tue 27-Aug-13 22:00:44

Joy your situation is different, If joint owners , both have same rights of access.

speaker Wed 28-Aug-13 19:14:18

Thank you for all your replies.

Joy5 Wed 28-Aug-13 20:40:24

My situation isn't different at all, my ex is still paying the mortgage but he is not allowed a key to the house. He still is a joint owner, but it isn't his home.

He still jointly own the house, but isn't allowed access with his own key any longer. That is why i changed the locks, because my solicitor told me it was ok from a legal point of view. Everyone above who says i am wrong about this, does not back up their statements by saying a solicitor has told them, they are just giving their opinions.

It is no longer his home, but he has to pay the mortgage on our family home until our youngest leaves ft education. He is not allowed to live here again, unless it is with my permission.

My solicitor told me this last year, i'm sure if the legal situation had changed my ex would have demanded access by now.

All i can say is seek legal advice yourself, rather then listen to people posting totally untrue statements.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 28-Aug-13 20:52:39

Interesting Joy my solicitor gave me exactly the opposite advice last year. She also said that only once he was off deeds would the police consider it trespass and take action.
Once the title transfer was complete she wrote to him and told him that he was no longer entitled to access and to return all keys.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 28-Aug-13 20:54:01

Joy you clearly had a financial agreement in place stating that it was no longer his home, but he had to pay the mortgage. This may be prior to critical difference.

Joy5 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:12:54

I have no financial agreement at all, still discussing if thats the right word through solicitors. The financial agreement has absolutely nothing to do with the person who moves away from the family being allowed access whenever he wants to the family home!

They are not allowed to by law once they have moved away. It is no longer their home, simple as that.

cjel Wed 28-Aug-13 21:25:11

Joy, One of the top solicitors in our area gave me the exact opposite advice to yours. They own the house as much as you and unless there is court orders preventing it he can come and go the same as you. If I changed the locks(or he did as he was threatening) we would both be within our rights to change them back.

You are wrong!!!!

Joy5 Wed 28-Aug-13 21:37:35

I'm not wrong at all. My solicitor told me the legal facts.

They do own the house, you're right about that, but its not the same as being their home. It isn't their home.

You don't seem to know the difference, so please don't be so rude towards me.

Ex's cannot just walk into their old home. So i suggest you see just an ordinary solicitor rather then claimng a 'top solicitor', and you'll be told the same as me.

cjel Wed 28-Aug-13 21:40:55

I am not being rude! You suggested we were just giving opinions and hadn't legal advice so I was responding that I had taken very good legal advice and yes you are wrong if what you have told us is all!! You can suggest what I should do all you like but you will always be wrong!!

HeliumHeart Wed 28-Aug-13 21:45:05

Yes Joy you are wrong I'm afraid. Both my (highly respected) divorce lawyers, along with an experienced family law barrister friend and the District Judge I saw in court told me the same thing - if his name is on the deeds then unless I had an occupation order he would have the right to enter the house.

As another poster said though, I was gently encouraged to add additional security now that I'm living on my own with the children.

Your tone in telling everyone they are wrong, despite people clearly referring to advice from lawyers, is quite full on!

HeliumHeart Wed 28-Aug-13 21:47:22

shockI can't believe how condescending you are being! Why do you (quite laughingly) think you're so clearly right above EVERYONE else?!

cjel Wed 28-Aug-13 22:00:12

Thank you helium , Iwas beginning to doubt myself for a minutesmile

babybarrister Wed 28-Aug-13 22:02:06

I am a family barrister - you cannot change the locks! if you do so and no-one takes any action against you then good luck- does not mean it is legal!!! Obviously all of this is on the basis that you have not obtained an occupation order actually excluding one spouse from the property ...

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 28-Aug-13 22:07:05

Thank you babybarrister for clearing up this confusion and confirming to most of us that we have taken the right track. I would suspect that those of us who have had the advice you are confirming have seen family law specialists.

Joy5 Thu 29-Aug-13 09:15:23

I stand by what i said, and i wasn't laughing at anything. My ex coming into my house when i wasn't expecting it, was one of the scariest things to happen to me. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

i have no occupation order, and my ex cannot have a key to the new locks.

I don't appreciate 'bullying' comments as above, and i definately don't appreciated messages being sent privately to myself either cjel using the same tone.

cjel Thu 29-Aug-13 09:42:10

I don't appreciate being accused of being rude either you started on me when I am trying to help you understand the law.

Not denying it was scary for you , I have been scared by my ex and know how it feels, but you are wrong, your solicitor has misinformed you and yet still you say he can have keys. He can. you have no legal right to prevent him coming in the home unless you have occupation order.
You have even had a family barrister now saying you are wrong.
My pm was meant to keep it between ourselves and not in public.
I felt I deserved an apology for the way you spoke to me, and now even though you are clearly wrong all you can do is accuse me of bullying.

cjel Thu 29-Aug-13 09:44:11

by the way I sent 'would be nice if you corrected yourself'
It still would,, that's all

HeliumHeart Thu 29-Aug-13 10:21:57

I find accusing people of bullying is quite a common tactic when more than one person tells that person that they are wrong. Because it's easier to do that for some people than to ever admit fallibility... hmm

Nobody is bullying you Joy. You gave advice to the OP which is in fact LEGALLY INCORRECT and needs to be corrected if she is to avoid acting illegally.

Collaborate Thu 29-Aug-13 11:07:44

Babybarrister is right that there is no right to exclude a joint owner from a property. That gives rise to the general advice that locks can't/shouldn't be changed.


If the resident spouse/partner changes the locks because the other has moved out, but the other still wants access to the property, the excluded one has 2 options:

1. To use reasonable force to enter - this is OK if the property is empty at the time (though they must repair damage caused). It is an offence to force entry under the 1977 Crime Act if they know someone is in the property at the time and they are aware that they don't want them to enter.

2. To seek an occupation order requiring the resident spouse/partner to give them a set of keys, and prohibiting them from preventing the excluded one from entering.

If option 2 is chosen the court will not automatically grant the occupation order. It will depend on all the facts of the case. What do they want access to the property for? Why were the locks changed in the first place? If someone wants to return to the property to live there then they will stand a good chance of getting the order (in fact almost certainly they will get the order) provided there has been no violence and for example they haven't another more convenient home to live in. If however they've been letting themselves in so as to harass the occupier they might not be allowed back.

Joy5 Thu 29-Aug-13 12:35:00

I stand by the legal advice i was given. I just hope the OP seeks her own legal advice to find out the facts for herself.

I havn't made one personal comment, about from mentioning I received a pm, yet i have been attacked over and over. The pm was just taunting me privately, there was absolutely not need to do after a comment i made on a public forum.

I havn't told the OP to act illegally, i told my experience and suggested she seek legal advice herself.

Bullying is more then one person attacking just one person, which has what happened above. I was told repeatedly details of my story that were totally untrue, by people who knew more about my situation then myself. To then use

MNs is fantastic when it works well, the above is just an example of it working badly, when it resorts to name calling and personal attacks.

cjel Thu 29-Aug-13 13:08:03

the reason I pm'd you was to be more friendly and less bullying. sorry you took it the wrong way. If you stand by that advice after everyone else has told you different that is of course your choice, but I think you are misunderstanding your solicitor.
OP will now know what is right from all the legal advice on here.
You accused me and others of giving opinions, and you were the only one who had legal advice. I replied saying I had top legal advice and you attacked me personally saying I was rude.

I was pointing out that I had used one of the west countrys best family law firms so you would know I wasn't making it up and you picked up that I should use normal not top solicitors for some reason?

You have been personal and abusive to me and even when I pm'd you I only said 'it would be nice'

I feel very sorry for you if you can find offence in this post,
Still think you owe me apology for calling me rude and dismissing my very valid legal advice which even though others and a family barrister confirmed you choose to ignore.

Joy5 Thu 29-Aug-13 14:37:17

Cjel, just leave me alone please. I posted on a public forum, from advice given to me by my solicitor in writing.

I don't need pms from you, trying to get me to respond privately. I hope the op gets her own legal advice, likely she will be told the same as me.

I have not been personal or abusive towards, i never would, but you have both above, and in your pms.

I'll request again, please leave me alone.

HeliumHeart Thu 29-Aug-13 15:24:42

Joy - please re-read what has been said. If anything you have been far ruder, scoffing at other people's choice of lawyers, stating that other people were posting "totally untrue statements" despite several people stating the opposite to yourself, saying that others on this thread "clearly don't know the difference". Why do you think people were posting their own experiences - it is not to bully you - it is to make the point that individuals on this thread, all of whom have no doubt gone through their own personal divorce hell (I imagine that's the case when one knows the ins and outs of trying to get your ex removed from the property), have paid good money for advice which differs greatly from your own. Why have you taken that personally? I'm sorry you too have gone through a shit time - but try to remember that many people posting on this thread have too.

What "name calling" and "personal attacks" have you experienced on this thread? Just being told that you're... wrong?

cjel Thu 29-Aug-13 15:28:45

I am still upset at being called rude!
if you read the number of people who disagreed with you I hope OP doesn't get told the same as you, because it isn't the law.
I am answering you on a public forum and am just as entitled to as you. If you won't accept that what you have said to me is nasty and abusive I worry for you. It is not normal to call someone rude for giving a response to a very incorrect post ie. I HAD legal advice and you made the assumption I hadn't I was also trying to help you as were so many on here You have been misadvised - whether in writing or not.
I have only ever responded to your posts you attacked me wi
thout cause and the reason I PM'd you was because every other poster disagreed with you and I didn't want you too feel got at.
I suggest you reread all these posts and see who said what as you seem to get confused very easily.
As you clearly will never apologise for calling me rude and attacking my source of knowledge perhaps you will get off your high horse and leave me alone

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 29-Aug-13 15:32:22

Well I'm sorry if you thought any of my statements were bullying I tried very hard to look for a reason why the advice you had been given was different. As different people's situations give rise to different advice.

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