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Familylawexpert1, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6
Experience:  Qualified in 2005 and specialise in all aspects of family law, including divorce, finances and children disputes.
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I got my decree absolute on April 22. The judge ordered that

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I got my decree absolute on April 22. The judge ordered that the house be transferred into my name as it was in my husband's sole name prior to divorce. We still have not divided the assets and my ex is proving difficult. My ex-husband lives abroad and I have my son with me. The court did not take maintenance into account because he lives in the UAE and therefore I am the sole carer for my 15yr old son now although there is a parenting plan which states a 50/50 sharing agreement which is not happening because he is now abroad. I would like to know if I can change the locks of the house based on the fact that he has to be out of the house 6 weeks after Decree Absolute although the house has not been transferred to my name as of yet. Thanks
If you have a court order stating the property be transferred into your name within a certain time period, you would be within your rights to change the locks. If the order specifies a 6 week time period, then it is best to wait until then.

I am concerned that your ex husband has not taken steps to transfer the house into your name though. Have you been able to speak with him about this? Has he stated he is doing it? If he doesn't seem to be taking any action, once the 6 week period is up, you may want to think about applying to the court to enforce the order. - This may spur him into action and the court need to be made aware if the terms of the order are not being followed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The court order states that the property should be transferred into my name no later than 6 weeks of DA and that he should vacate the property no later than 6 weeks. He has not done that so far since he is abroad and coming mid June and the 6 weeks are up on 3rd June. He is saying that we need to agree on the division of assets (which I am willing to relinquish all to him to get him out of my life) before he transfers house to my name. I want to know if I can change the locks of the house on 3rd of June regardless of whether the house is transferred in my name and the chattels divided. Can I do this? Thks

Thank you for attaching the Order. It is very clear that the remaining issue of dividing the chattels is an entirely separate matter to your former husband vacating the property and transferring it within 6 weeks of Decree Absolute.

Therefore you can change the locks when the six weeks is up as he should have vacated by this time anyway.

I would advise trying to negotiate with respect to the chattels to save on costs, but if this is unsuccessful then apply to the court. The priority is the transfer of the property into your sole name and this cannot be delayed whilst the issue of chattels is sorted out. If he is not prepared to do this, then do return it to court to have the order enforced.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your quick response. I called a locksmith today and they mentioned that the house needs to be in my name in order for the lock to be changed. Is there another way round this?

I would have thought having the court order would be sufficient evidence, did they mention whether they would accept that?

In any event, I think if there is still no progress with the transfer by the end of the six weeks you should return the matter to court. The sooner it is resolved the better. There are other legal implications now that you are divorced, such as being able to leave the property in your will. If the property remains in your former husband's name you would not be able to do this.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

May I ask what form do I have to get from the Court in order to enforce the transfer? Is there anything else I need to keep in mind? If he is abroad how can they enforce it? Thank you again.

You can apply to the court using form D11 - it is likely there would be a short Directions Appointment for you to explain your position and for your former husband to explain why he hasn't taken the steps to transfer the property. Hopefully this will be enough to make him comply with the order. It might be an idea to send him an email as a letter before action, stating you will be returning the matter to court if he is has not started the transfer process by 3rd June and you will be seeking costs for the application.

Unfortunately the UAE is not an easy to place to enforce an English order, if he is remaining there permanently it could be extremely difficult. Perhaps start the negotiating with the chattels now to try and resolve the whole matter without incurring the cost of more lengthy proceedings.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am being told now by my old solicitor which I cannot afford anymore that I cannot apply to court until 27th June which is about 9 weeks from the decree absolute date. I don't understand this when it states clearly in the final order that it is 6 weeks. Can you think of any reason? Thks

Hello, no I can't think of any reason for the delay, as long as you are 100% certain of the Decree Absolute date, you should be able to apply the day after the 6 weeks is up.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks for this. Do you think I can go to court by myself and appeal for the house to be transferred 100% since he has not honoured the parenting plan which we signed (via family mediators) which states 50/50 parenting and based on that the Judge made her decision. He is now in the UAE and I am the sole carer of my son without any maintenance. He only pays for private education school fees.

It is possible to apply to court to vary the order, as there is a change of circumstances. Although I don't know your financial backgrounds and have only had sight of the order, it would be very unusual for a court not to award one party anything at all though. If you are thinking of taking this route I would suggest contacting a direct access barrister and providing them with all the paperwork and asking for a written opinion on your prospects of success.