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UKfamsol
UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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Decree absolute April 2014. House always been in my sole name.

Customer Question

Decree absolute April 2014. House always been in my sole name. Have been trying to negotiate with ex husband. He still is living at my house. He is not even answering his solicitors attempts to reach him. He never registered home rights on my home prior to decree absolute. He is verbally abusive. Can I change locks to exclude him from my house?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  UKfamsol replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thanks for your question.

I need a bit more information:

Are you still living at the house?
Is there any court order concerning the house & finances associated with the divorce? If so, what does it say?
Is there any agreement between you re the house & finances - whether verbally, or in writing, or via solicitors' correspondence or via mediation? If so, what is that agreement?

What is the house worth? (approx)
How much is the total mortgage (approx)?
Do you have any dependent kids? Who do they live with?
What is your annual income?
What is his annual income?
Are there any other assets or debts?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am still living at the house, no order of any kind, been trying to negotiate amicably. Very little money or equity, have offered him my accrued pension. No dependent children. I earn more than him, have offered maintenance. He is alcoholic, earns little, could eRn more if worked full tome
Expert:  UKfamsol replied 1 year ago.

ok in that case here are your options:

a) he is occupying the house as your guest as he is no longer your spouse -- this is not a tenancy, this is a licence. A licence can be brought to an end by "reasonable notice". So I suggest you write him a formal notice along the following lines:
From: Your full name and address at top of the letter
To: X (full name & address)
(date)

Dear X, We have been divorced for a year. It's not appropriate for you to continue to live in my house. I am therefore asking you to leave by (date eg 28 days time time). I'm sorry but if you do not leave by (date), I am likely to apply to court for an eviction notice. We can continue to negotiate about finance associated with the divorce once you have moved out. You can take this letter to the council's housing department if that will help you find other accommodation, but you must move out by (date) even if you have to rent privately, or stay with family or friends. The Citizen's Advice Bureau will advise you about housing benefit and other benefits.

Yours sincerely
(your full name in print - needs to be formal because if you do have to apply to court, you will need to have a copy of this letter, AND your signature - very important that the letter is signed.)

Give him the original , and keep a copy of your signed and dated letter for your own records.

b) if his behaviour is really bad, eg he is either actually violent to you, or threatening violence, or his haressment/verbal abuse is REALLY bad & constant, then you can apply for an emergency injunction called an occupation order. If granted, the court can order someone to leave their home, which can be enforced by court bailffs, or the police, if the person refuses to cooperate. This is the application form :

http://www.jordanpublishing.co.uk/system/redactor_assets/documents/697/FL401.pdf

You would have to convince the court that the risk to you if your ex stays in the house is worse than the risk to him if he is made to leave the house at short notice. This application must be made within a day or 2 of the most recent incident of his behaviour to you, and ideally, you would need to show the court that he does have alternative accommodation available to him at short notice. This application would be hard to do without the help of a solicitor, as you must act fast (or the ocurt will not believe that you are at risk, the grounds are fairly technical, you have to provide a detailed statement with the application, and a draft order, AND you are asking the court to do something drastic ie turn someone out of their home on only a few days notice - so his behaviour has to be really bad for the court to agree - but worth doing if that is the case.

You could start with the letter I suggested, then if his behaviour worsens, go for the injunction, if you suddenly need to get him out quickly.

NB he IS still entitled to make a claim in relation to property & assets & in relation to the divorce & spousal maintenance - whether or not he is living in the house - if you can't reach agreement on these issues. But that would be a completely separate application to court to deal with money etc. Reaching agreement is preferable, as going to court is stressful, time-consuming and expensive. Once he has moved out, you can continue to negotiate either between yourselves, or via solicitors' correspondence, or via mediation. The family court anyway now requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application relating to matrimonial finance (an application for an injunction is exempt for the requirement to try mediation. If you do get an injunction, then you will also be exempt from the requirement to attend mediation in the case concerning matrimonial finances).

Here's where to find a local family mediator:

http://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/find-local-mediator/

I think you would benefit from some face-to-face legal advice from a specialist family law solicitor. Here's where to find one near you:

http://www.resolution.org.uk/findamember/

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

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