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Cath Porter

Cath Porter

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 the Family Law team are asked when dealing with separation and divorce. The simple answer is no. However, if the property is jointly owned, then you cannot legally go changing the locks on the family home 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.

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. This will ensure 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.

Changing the locks on the family home is one of the many questions the specialist team are asked. If you need help or assistance with this or an Occupation Order, please contact the Family Law team or Contact Us to discuss your matter further.

Harold G Walker offers a FREE 30-minute consultation to review all family problems.