Lock Lock, whose there?
Doing family law means we have to wear many hats.
Obviously, you need to know about family law.
You also need to understand finances. It’s not just how much is in the bank account (which is quite straight forward) but how much a pension is worth and what each side’s share should be, which can be far more complicated.
We are not counsellors, but we often need to provide a sympathetic ear for our clients, who need to talk.
Many separating couples often need advice on property law, and not just about how to sell the house and split the proceeds. Sometimes we need to give more immediate advice, such as whether either party has the right to lock their ex out of their mind and the house they shared. Or we need to advice someone whose been locked out of their property by their ex, and need to find out if they should go back in.
If you are married or in a civil partnership then regardless of who owns the home, neither of you have the right to change the locks or restrict the other person’s access to the property without a court order or the other person’s consent. Equally, if you are unmarried, but own the home jointly, then neither of you have the right to lock the other out.
If you live with your partner and he or she owns the home or is the only one of you named on the tenancy agreement then you cannot change the locks without a court order, but they might be able to lock you out!
If you have been locked out of the property you do have the option of applying for an occupation order permitting you access to the home or part of it, but it will depend on the circumstances.
If your partner has been violent or threatening towards you, it might change things and give you increased protection, so make sure you keep notes, records and photographs of anything that happens.
If you’re thinking about ending a relationship, and you’re not sure what your rights are, we do a weekly drop in clinic where you can come and get some free legal advice, a sympathetic ear and a cup of tea. Drop me a line if you’d like more details.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Helping you pick up the pieces.