Head of Family Law
My partner has moved out of the family home. Can I change the locks to stop them coming back in whenever they want?
This is one of the most common questions we are asked when dealing with separation and divorce. The simple answer is no. If the property is jointly owned, then you cannot legally change the locks without the other owner’s consent. This is because they have a right to enter and/or occupy the property if they wish.
If your partner is coming back to the property and not respecting your privacy, this is inappropriate. A letter from a lawyer warning them of this is usually enough to stop them. A letter from a lawyer warning them of this is usually enough to stop them.
However if there is any domestic violence or threatening or intimidating behaviour towards you by your partner then you can apply to the court for an injunction known as an Occupation Order so that your partner can be prevented from coming into the property. To successfully obtain an Occupation Order you will need to show to the court that it is appropriate for your partner to be excluded. For
example, you may need to show that there is a risk of harm to yourself or your children.
For further information please contact our Family Law team.