What are my legal rights regarding a property that I no longer reside in due to a separation?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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What are my legal rights regarding a property that I no longer reside in due to a separation?

I was forced to move out of our home due to my husband having several mental, violent episodes. We have a 16 year old daughter together and in order to keep her safe and keep social services from getting involved, I felt after 17 years and a lot of hardship, it was time to go. The final event ended with him spending time in the mental hospital. He has since gotten out and says he is going to try to keep the house. Do I have to keep my name on a property where I no longer live? The locks have been changed, I don’t even have a way to get in if I wanted to. Am I still obligated?

Asked on August 1, 2011 Idaho


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  You seem to have done what was best for you and your daughter by leaving the house.  I am a little unsure about how you really want to proceed here.  Do you want to just walk away or do you want to get what is rightfully yours?  First, your husband can not change the locks unless there is an order giving him exclusive use or an agreement between you as to same.  But you are always still obligated to pay the mortgage and the expenses again, unless a court says otherwise.  If there is a mortgage giving him the house does not alleviate you of that responsibility. The lender is not a party to your divorce so you could still be liable.  Please get help from an attorney in your area.  Good luck.

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