Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Will I Be Allowed Back?; Homes & Property Lawyer Henry Stuart Answers Londoners' Queries

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Will I Be Allowed Back?; Homes & Property Lawyer Henry Stuart Answers Londoners' Queries

Article excerpt

Q I am due to go on holiday shortly with my son. My husband and I have not been getting on well recently and he is threatening to lock me out of our home and not to let my son and I back in when we return. What can I do?

A You do not say whether you and your husband own your home together, or whether it is in his name only. This will affect what you need to do. If you do not already know this, you may be able to find out from the legal documents you signed when you bought your home, or a solicitor would be able to obtain this information easily and cheaply from the Land Registry.

If you and your husband own the property jointly, your husband cannot legally deny you access. If he changes the locks or otherwise prevents you from returning, you should call your local police station and they will be able to gain access to the property on your behalf.

If the property is in your husband's name solely, you need to take steps immediately to protect your interest. As a married woman you have what are known as "matrimonial home rights" over the property. You can register your rights by completing a simple form and paying a small fee. A solicitor can help you. It will mean that you cannot legally be evicted by your husband without a court order being obtained. This would also alert anyone interested in the property to your interest and protect your rights. Your husband will be informed of the registration, so tell him this is what you are doing.

If your husband manages physically to stop your return you should immediately apply to the Court for an Order to gain re-entry.

You need to take action straight away. Do not simply wait until you return from holiday.

Q In March next year, my job will be taking me abroad and I do not expect to return to the UK for a number of years. …

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