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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My daughter bought last year a house in Colchester with her

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My daughter bought last year a house in Colchester with her boyfriend, where they are living together (the house is in joint names). Since they have been living together he has started to become abusive towards her. He wants to control her financially, mentally and emotionally, to the point where in desperation she broke down in tears and said she did not know what to do any more to save the relationship. I have told her that she can come back and live with us for a while if she wants to, but I would like to know what protection she should seek in case her boyfriend's abuse worsens. I fear she could get physically hurt if things get worse. They have both contributed towards the mortgage as they are both in employment. What would happen if she decided she wanted to leave him and come back home to us (her parents) regarding the sale of the property (in the case where he decides to be difficult and does not want to sell the house)? I am worried about my daughter but cannot interfere for obvious reasons. However I would like to know her rights if things came to a head. Thank you for your answer.

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:

-Do they have any children, if so their ages?

-Whose name is ***** ***** and mortgage in?

-Are there any formal agreements or deed of trust regarding contributions and shares for the property?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, they do not have any children. The property is in both names. I am not aware of formal agreements or deed of trust regarding contributions and shares for the property.

Thank you for confirming. Firstly, as the property is in joint names they both have a legal right to occupy the property and he can only be excluded by the police (such as if there are bail conditions) or by a court order.

If the situation worsens and she fears for her safety then she should immediately contact the police to assist. The police will advise her if there are any grounds for them to deal with as a criminal offence. If they cannot assist and she remains at risk she can consider applying to her local family court on an urgent basis for a non-molestation order (an injunction) to prevent any risk of harm to wards her as well as an occupation order (to exclude him from the property). Both these can be applied for at the same time on the same form FL401 and there is no court fee to pay. She will need a detailed statement in support setting out the past incidents, the risks and why she feels an order is necessary - this statement should be filed with the application.

I hope this assists you. If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you

Harris and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just one more question concerning the above: apart from physical abuse (which so far I understand has not occurred), does intimidation, financial and emotional abuse constitute a criminal offence? Thank you for answering this question, as I think it would be wise for her to leave the house before things get worse. He is a strong man (a body-builder on steroids) and I admit I also find him intimidating when he is angry. Thank you for answering this additional question.

If the intimidation and emotional abuse put her at risk then yes, it is a criminal offence.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you mean actual danger to her life, or does that include unreasonable and cruel mistreatment (such as preventing her from putting the heating on during the winter)?

If she can prove that she is repeatedly and continuously emotionally abused in this way then it will be considered a crime and she has 2 years to report it to the police

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your prompt answer which is helpful. Last year her boyfriend got very drunk after rugby and came back home at 3am in the morning to find out he had forgotten his keys. My daughter was sleeping in the house when he decided to break in in the middle of the night. He smashed through the patio windows and managed to get in. My daughter was terrified and called the police. When she realized it was her boyfriend she dropped the case, although he swore and shouted at her for involving the police. Although this happened last year, can she still include this incident in her report?

This would not be considered emotional abuse if it is the only incident. She needs to demonstrate that it is repeated and continuous. If it is, then yes she can include it in her report.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was just the start. Since then there have been many other instances of emotional, mental and financial abuse. To prove this, does she need to write them down with exact dates and times every time they occur, as they have become more frequent, almost on a daily basis?