Family lawyers are frequently consulted when one spouse has excluded the other from the home by changing the locks. Under Ontario family law, one spouse does not have the right to exclude the other from the matrimonial home (unless there is an existing court order or separation agreement that authorizes that step.)

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It is an important principle of family law that both spouses have an equal right to possession of a matrimonial home. This is true whether or not a spouse holds legal title to the home. There is also no right on the part of a spouse to remove property that is jointly owned from the home.

If your spouse has changed the locks on the matrimonial home, it may be that he or she is not aware of your rights under Ontario family law or they have not had a consultation with a family lawyer. Although it is reasonable to ask for a key, if you have moved out of the home, you should always give your spouse reasonable and adequate notice of any intention to return to the home.

To read more about the special status of a matrimonial home under Ontario Law, click here. If you need to consult with a family lawyer about your right to the matrimonial home in separation and divorce, reach out. We can help.

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