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Can I change the locks on my spouse?

Can I change the locks on my spouse?

As family lawyers we are regularly asked the question: Can I change the locks on my spouse? This is probably one of the most common questions I am asked when dealing with a client's separation or divorce.

The short answer is no. Regardless of whose name the property is in, each spouse has the right to occupy the property. These rights are known in Scots Law as 'occupancy rights'.

The only way to legally exclude your spouse from the family home is by making an application to the court seeking to restrict or suspend their occupancy rights. An order known as an 'exclusion order' suspends a spouse's occupancy rights in the property. Before making such an order, the court must be satisfied that such an order is necessary in order to protect the applicant or any child of the family. If the court grants such an order, then it can only be removed by further order of the court or on the termination of the marriage (i.e. on divorce).

As family lawyers we understand that every client situation is unique. It is therefore important that you seek legal advice as early as possible which will be tailored to your own circumstances.

Should you require advice in relation to any aspect of your separation or divorce, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our family law team.

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Written by : Vicky Lewis

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