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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 110401
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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My husband and I divorced October 2015 using the services of

Customer Question

My husband and I divorced October 2015 using the services of a mediation team. We still have joint ownership on our marital primary residence and a joint checking account to pay the expenses on the home. I continue to live in the house with our college-aged son. My ex-husband's primary residence is elsewhere. He has changed his permanent mailing address with the USPS and the DMV. The house is intended for sale in the near future with equity to be divided as established in our divorce decree. Also, our divorce settlement stated that he would continue to deposit funds in the joint account to pay for the household expenses, repair and maintenance required for the upcoming listing of the home for sale. He has not honored this agreement, depositing only a fraction of what was agreed upon occasionally, claiming that his salary has decreased.
My problem is that the ex-husband believes that since his name is ***** ***** the title, it gives him the right to enter the residence whenever he pleases without permission or prior notification of intent. He frequently enters the home mid-day when he thinks no one will be home; the only evidence of this visit being items moved or mail taken.
I contacted the mediation team who handled our divorce and they could not help me with this situation, claiming a lack of legal knowledge. It is my understanding that since he has established a primary residence elsewhere, he is not entitled to come and go as he pleases in the former marital home.
I have told him repeatedly that he is welcome to stop by if he contacts me in advance to make sure that the timing of his visit is convenient to my and my son's preplanned daily activities. Is it legal for me to change pass codes or locks to prevent him from entering my home without my permission or knowledge?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Does your marital property agreement state who has rights to the house until it is sold? Does the marital agreement state that you would have rights to possession of the marital home pending sale?
Was this agreement filed in court?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The court filed documents read as such: "The former marital awarded to both parties as Tenants in Common with Plaintiff (husband) havin a 25% interest in the property and Defendant having 75% interest in the property. The parties shall continue to reside at the property and shall notify each other of their comings and goings."Since my ex-husband elected to not "reside at the property" am I within my rights to secure my primary residence as I see fit?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 5 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Based on that court order, you do not have an automatic right to keep him from the home. You would have to file a motion for temporary possession of the home, since he has moved out. If you just change the locks or codes, he still has a right to enter and as such the only way to stop him legally is filing the motion for possession of the home.
Also, the problem with him not paying as he is supposed to pay, you would have to file a motion for an order to show cause for contempt of court and get the court to order him to pay and to fine him and make him pay your court costs for having to take him to court to make him pay what he agreed to pay and what was ordered by the court.

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