Myn husband and I are separated and he is contesting divorce at the moment. Neither of us live in the marital home but myself and the children are about to move back.
As it is joint owned, what rights does he have? I don;t want to live there if he can come and go as he pleases, but I believe we are not allowed to change the locks?
If he does not agree to being bought out by someone else, what happens? Can he force the sale or does he have to wait until the children are old enough?
Also, if we continue living there, and I make improvements which I pay for, will he get the benefit of the higher selling price? In other words it is not worth me investing in improvements perhaps?
You are correct that as joint owner he is legally entitled to gain access to the house.
However, if you move in , and he is living elsewhere, then any unwelome visits are usually quite effectively dealt with by a quick call to the police.
They will usually come out very quickly and talk to him and persuade him to leave. They will basically threaten him with harassment orders and the like.
We are not saying that we support this, or that it is a good thing, just letting you know that in practise you should be able to use this police threat to keep yourself and the kids safe.
I dont know of any law that would prevent you from changing the locks - you are the joint owner. Its just that there is a cost to do this and he might take it badly.
You cannot force him to be bought out and he cannot force you to sell. These issue are decided as part of ancillary relief proceedings. You really need to sort out a permanent solution to all the finances by applying for ancillary relief.
Whether or not he gest to retain a stake in the home and how much that stake is worth and when you need to sell to pay him his share is all decided as part of ancillary relief. The courts first objective will eb to provide a home for the kids, so as long as it is financially viable then the court will try to allow you to remain in the marital home until the kids are grown up.
HO's were orginally designed to tackle offences such as stalking, and unwanted contact from a person/s which then continues on 2 or more separate occasions.
During divorce there has to be ongoing contact or dialogue between the two parties whether directly or indirectly to facilitate the divorce process and the splitting of assets etc.
Police have a duty to respond to any call concerning "domestics", if only to attend to prevent a Breach of the Peace where a verbal argument has taken place. If there are no offences you will both be given the same advice - contact your solicitor.
Violence is a different matter of course, that would lead to arrest and criminal proceedings etc etc....