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Ask LawTalk Your Own Question
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37818
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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We have a home that needs to be sold as part of E. D.

Customer Question

Hello, we have a home that needs to be sold as part of E. D. (equitable distribution) It has been over 2 years since the time of separation. Decided to wait until youngest child graduated high school. That has taken place. We need to have work done prior
to putting it on the market. Prior there was never an issue. Moved less than a mile away and stayed involved. Now when it's time for the end of the end she is giving resistance. Key use to work, now it doesn't. There are time's when believe she is there yet
won't answer door. Even the neighbors said they thought so also. Summary she seems to be in denial of " it's time " My name is primary (first) on the deed actually it was solely in my name and I had a deed modification her name was placed on it. After some
evasive conversations she sent a somewhat hostile letter saying stay away or she will call the authorities! Spoke to local locksmith and his answer was whats to stop her from changing locks again? There are 4 outside entrance's, a bit costly plus It's been
month's already. Son said he would leave a key for me but not putting him in the middle. What procedure would you suggest be followed to reinstate property rights? My thoughts are there has been no change of or diminished rights of possession so she should
be thankful I don't move back in or have a cook out on the grill I bought in the spring...wouldn't that would be something. Thnks, I'd appreciate you speaking to any negative's I may incur beside's a female's bad attitude
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon,
Thanks for asking for me. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.
1. You are saying that she resides in the home and you do not, is that correct?
2. And how long has it been since you moved out allowing her to be there on her own?
3. How long ago was the decree?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank You,
1. Yes, please note moved less than a mile away and remained involved, meaning tasks for upkeep etc. Property related
2. 10 yrs
3. 9 yrs
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I apologize for error on first note.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information.
The fact that you had a functional key for so long after the divorce amazes me. The law allows her to change the locks immediately because you are no longer a resident there but a former spouse with a legal interest in the property only. I'm sorry, but legally you have no right to enter the property without your ex's permission and to do so would constitute a crime.
As for her cutting off communication---it is clear that you are wanting to sell and she does not want to lose her home. Rarely does the remaining ex-spouse go willingly when the time comes to sell the property that they see as "theirs".
You asked: "What procedure would you suggest be followed to reinstate property rights?"
The only property right you have is a bare shared title-ownership, with absolutely no legally possessory rights.
You have a right to enforce the terms of the decree and ask the court, in a Motion for Contempt and Enforcement, to order that the property be sold and that you receive your share of the profits.
Any attempt by you to gain access to the property once again may be met with calls to the police and possibly even criminal charges. Despite the rather unusual and cozy relationship you may have maintained with your ex and access to the property, it was always just an illusion that you had any real legal rights as regards ***** ***** access to the property. Whether you knew it or not, your access has since the divorce always been in the sole discretion of your ex.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.
Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.
Thank you,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Doug, I am not disappointed at all. I'm here for the truth. Your reply was detailed and forthright.I did not answer one of your questions correctly. I do not have a FINAL decree as the divorce was not final because of equitable dist. I answered the date that it was entered. I would presume that change's my positional rights?I was surprised at you answer however with the previous scenario. I would believe that real property and the ownership of it would have equal rights no matter if I occupied or not. Now we will see if I'm going to be disappointed. Thank You
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Doug, It appears you opted out of finality on this topic unless it's a service issue. I will thank you for your time.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning,

No, I didn't opt out of the question thread. Quite honestly, I missed the question that was put in the middle of your message. I apologize.

Under the law your rights to possession of the property are not changed by the fact that the decree may not be final yet.

You wrote: I would believe that real property and the ownership of it would have equal rights no matter if I occupied or not

When you "abandoned" the marital residence---be it moving for purposes of separation, or otherwise, and your spouse remained in the home treating it as her primary residence, you lost the legal right of possession, entry and ability to exclude others she might invite in.

This is similar to when a landlord rents a home. The landlord still owns the property but loses the right of possession, entry and exclusion to the tenant. Yes I know there is a difference between separating and renting---but the result is the same as regards ***** ***** of possession.

I am again, sorry that I have to disappoint you. Under the law, while you retail legal ownership, you have lost the right of possession, entry and exclusion.

I wish you well in your future.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Doug, I had not seen that you responded. We are both either showing our imperfections or poor clicking.Please direct me to the PA rule you refer to and any case law that this was tried as I was not advised of this. I am looking forward to giving you a positive rating. I would definitely appreciate asap
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

I am unable to further assist you in this matter, and I am going to opt out of your question and open this up for other professionals.

Your question is being placed back in the question list for other professionals to see, and to respond to. You do not have to stay online for the question to be active. Should another professional pick it up, you should be alerted by email unless you actively disable this feature.

There is no need for you to reply at this time as this may "lock" your question back to me, thus inadvertently delaying other professionals' access to it.

I apologize for any inconvenience and wish you well in your future.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Placing in open forum won't be necessary as I will rephrase or simplify to minimize chance of confusion.
Thank you for your consideration

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