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Need urgent advice - right to enter marital home

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  • Need urgent advice - right to enter marital home

    I separated from my husband in mid-December and left the matrimonial home where he continues to live (we now live in different cities). Although he has claimed all along that he wishes to buy out my equity, he has not done so nor has he signed the Separation Agreement. After granting two extensions, and seeking two adjournments, my lawyer is bringing an application to court on April 3 to request that the house be listed for sale. I have not been inside the house since December but will have an opportunity to be in that city next week. If we are successful in obtaining an order to have the house sold, I have concerns about the condition it might be in. (As an aside, my lawyer recommended in December that I videotape the house on the day I vacated, with that day's newspaper in the forefront of each room - I did that.) My lawyer tells me that I have the right to enter the house next week if I wish to do so (provided I don't take anything) and that videotaping the current condition of the property might not be a bad idea. In preparing for the event that I decide to inspect the house, I called the RCMP to see if they might escort me - just as a safety precaution. I was told by the RCMP clerk that I do NOT have the right to enter my house, even though my husband and I do not yet have a signed separation agreement between us - we are both on title. The RCMP clerk told me, in direct opposition to what my lawyer said, that I must have a court order allowing me access to the house or I would be operating outside the law. Can you advise on what is proper? If I have the "right" to enter the house, what documents/proof of ownership would I need to have with me? What if the locks have been changed without my knowledge or permission? Thank you for any info. you can provide...

  • #2
    Wow. I don't know what province you are in, but in Ontario unless there is an order for Exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and its contents, then you have every right to be there. You can even move in today if you so wish.

    The police told me in no uncertain terms that I was required to allow my ex in any time he wished, but given that he was charged with assault against me, his lawyer vigorously argued to my ex to stay away in order not to complicate his criminal trial.

    I am/was in fear of my ex and I was told that he has every legal right to occupy his own property. The OPP went so far as to tell me that one day, I could come home to find that my ex had hired a locksmith to change the locks. I then would have the option to call my own locksmith and have another set of locks put on and so forth. It is nasty business I tell ya!

    But on the other hand, due to the assault, the OPP accompanied my ex to the house so that he could pick up his personal effects. I chose not to be there as I am intimidated by him, but my family followed him from room to room.

    In an adjoining county ,my current partner encountered a completely different OPP. He was told to move out of his house by his ex. Being gentlemanly, he complied and they agreed on the furniture that my partner could take at a later date.

    Well, imagine that, she refused him to come in the house. My partner only wanted what was agreed upon and consulted his attorney. My partner intended to enter the house when his ex was away on holiday and take his tv, clothes, stereo etc. He made the mistake of phoning the OPP to ask if it was ok. They told him in no nonsense terms that he was NOT to enter and to consult his lawyer.

    So , my partner did what his lawyer told him was legal and took his stuff. His ex's house sitter tried to cause trouble by ransacking the house after he left and called the OPP(Yes, seriously!). She made allegations that my partner and I had relations on her bed...blah, blah, blah, you get the picture. I have never once been to the house! The OPP did not, as they could not do anything in this case as he had every right to go there. In fact he could have stripped the house and there would be no recourse. It is then something to have the attorneys deal with.

    I suggest starting with a lawyer, then go to the police and be confident in your rights to enter the home. Depending on your province, and the whims of law enforcement, you may still get in your house!


    • #3
      Thanks for such a quick response! I am in Alberta. My husband is residing in the marital home - I left the home and that city, and returned to Calgary where I have been renting accommodations since December. As mentioned, my lawyer told me I did have the right to enter the marital home - it was the RCMP that told me I had absolutely NO right to do this without a court order. My husband has not provided his financial disclosure, has not made any effort to pay me out of my half of the equity, and has not signed the Separation Agreement. Hence my lawyer's application on Apr. 3 to have the house sold. Unfortunately for me, my lawyer is out of the country now until March 26 so I will not have an opportunity to clarify what the RCMP clerk told me. I do not want to do anything illegal by entering my home next week - it just happens that I have a business trip there, and would like to check on the current condition of the property. Especially if there is a chance it might be sold in the near future - I want to ensure that it is in saleable condition.


      • #4
        Once I have determined whether or not I may LEGALLY enter my home, I am also curious about what sort of documentation I might need to produce for a locksmith, for example, if the locks were changed?


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