Can I Change the Locks During Divorce?
Property can be a complex topic during a divorce. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer when it comes to whether properties should be sold or how they should be split. However, whether or not you or your partner can change the locks is one area that can be addressed with a little more concrete fact.
You own the house
If you own the home you lived in with your ex-spouse and they aren’t on the title deeds, you are within your rights to change the locks on the property if you wish. On a basic level the property is solely yours, meaning you have full control. However, given that you are still married until the divorce is finalised, your ex can acquire the right to live in the family home.
Whilst on a legal level you are well within your rights to change the locks on your home, your ex can also stake their claim. Even if you are not married, the courts may decide your ex has a right to live in the property depending on factors such as how long you have been together and whether they have invested any money into the house.
You jointly own the property
If both your names are on the property’s title deeds, you both have a legal right to the home. Neither party can change the locks on the home without agreement on both sides. You both have the right to occupy the property and, even if your ex leaves voluntarily, the locks should not be changed.
The best course of action when you jointly own a home is to decide who is going to live in the property during divorce proceedings. Whilst you may be tempted to change the locks you could find yourself facing a court application from your ex to gain access or they may try and forcibly re-enter the home.
If your ex jointly owns the family home with you, they are legally allowed to use reasonable force to re-enter the property if they have been locked out. Whilst they must fix any damage caused, they are within their legal rights to take this action if the locks have been changed.
How can I ensure my ex doesn’t enter the property?
If your ex is threatening or affecting the wellbeing of yourself or your children, you can have them banned from being near or entering the home. You can go to court and secure an occupation order. This means your ex will be denied the right to enter or live in the family home.
Occupation orders will only be granted if there is sufficient proof that your ex has mistreated you or any children. They are put in place to protect ex-spouses and their families from the likes of domestic violence, emotional and physical abuse, threatening behaviour and theft.
Selling your home post-divorce
Sometimes a fresh start is what some people require after a divorce and moving into a new property can grant this wish.
If you would like a quick and simple house sale there is an alternative to the traditional open market route. Get in touch with us today to discover how we can make selling your home during or after a divorce as stress-free and seamless as possible, in as little as seven days.
So, if you want an easy and efficient house sale solution following a divorce or separation, simply fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch before you know it.