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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 12-06-2012, 09:16 PM
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Default Access to the Matrimonial Home

My wife and I are slowly and somewhat painfully working through a mediated separation. She recently purchased a new home close to our matrimonial home and takes possession in a few days. Our goal has been to have shared custody of our two children and living close enough that our kids can maintain their school life with minimal interruption.

I am doing all I can to buy her share in our matrimonial home and have asked if she would give me the keys to the home once she has moved out. I have told her I didn't feel comfortable with her having access to the home and my possessions while I'm at work. I understand she has a legal interest in the home but it seems wrong that she can maintain access to the home and my possessions. The separation was her decision, she will gain significantly from the separation and has given up very little. So my question is once she's moved out can I change the locks or am I obligated to allow her free access to the matrimonial home until I am able to purchase her share or the home is sold?

I will admit I am bitter. Our home was purchased was the equity from a home I owned previously to our marriage. I have paid the majority of the bills and the mortgage for the last 15 years. With half of my pension and assistance from her mother she will live mortgage free in a newly built bigger home, is going to graduate school while I struggle to pay CS and purchase the matrimonial home.

So can I change the locks or continue to endure her coming and going whenever she chooses?
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:11 PM
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change the locks - she has another place now
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:36 PM
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Anybody has the right to change the locks on their house.

The question is, will she enter the house anyway? I think it comes down to whether she is a resident or an owner. A resident can enter at any time. A landlord has to give appropriate notice before entering.

Presumably, getting her own place makes her an owner, not a resident . I would go change the locks. If necessary, get those nifty new locks that you can re-key for a day in case you have to give her temporary access. then you can give her a key, but it will only work on days that you want it to work.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:33 AM
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just remember that if you change the locks you will probably have to pay her rent for staying if you have not bought her out yet.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:37 AM
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Even though I informed the ex in motion that I changed the locks, and the home was in my name, and the matrimonial home was purchased together, my lawyer informed me that he had every right to have open access to the home. According to the "ex".... he did not challenge me with his lawyer, but the revenge is worse than having the access. His revenge continues and I am getting worn down. So I would suggest speaking to your lawyer.

Last edited by mememe; 12-07-2012 at 10:48 AM. Reason: it needed it
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
So can I change the locks
Of course.

Quote:
or continue to endure her coming and going whenever she chooses?
If she is on title then she can walk up to the house with a locksmith and legally enter at any time of her choosing.

Quote:
she will gain significantly from the separation and has given up very little.
You may find hiring a lawyer will assist you with the separation.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:50 AM
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My ex was not on title, but it was the matrimonial home and both his lawyer and mine said he has a right to access at any time.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:18 PM
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If she is to remain on title/mortgage ecetera, and for your own piece of mind, you could ask for exclusive possession of the matrimonial home within the agreement. Even though exlusive possession is usually associated with abuse within the home, it can be agreed to. In my exes application she wanted exclusive possession to which we agreed to so that the argument wasn't brought within a motion.

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Originally Posted by standing on the sidelines View Post
just remember that if you change the locks you will probably have to pay her rent for staying if you have not bought her out yet.
If one claims rent saying "I'm locked out of the house", it will be usually offset against "I'm paying all the maintenance costs of the home"; I've recently seen judges ruling to that affect

Last edited by limer; 12-07-2012 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:24 PM
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^ good advice - this can be done on a consent order.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:32 AM
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Thank you everyone for your advice and guidance - it is very much appreciated.

After taking a time out to consider the ramifications of changing the locks without her knowledge I've decided to wait until our next mediation appointment to see if we cannot come to an agreement for her to respect my possessions while retaining access. I'm going to simply ask that once she has completely moved out that she give some agreed to reasonable notice (out of courtesy) before she enters the home.
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