rights to a property thats in joint names when seperated

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rights to a property thats in joint names when seperated

my dad seperated from his wife almost 2 years ago now, he vacated the family
house and moved in with his mother. Him and his wife recently agreed that she
would vacate the family home to move into one of the flats they jointly own so
that the family home could be refurbished and sold, my dad agreed to raise
78000 so that she could pay this off the flat and would be mortgage free
leaving the house to him to sort out. Anyway she has now vacated the property
but wont allow him the keys, she says if he enters the property she will call
the police. shes a really difficult woman with mental health issues so he
doesnt want to do anything that will get him in trouble but surely if the house
is jointly owned and she has vacated he cant get in trouble for entering? Can
you ffer any advice as she is not sticking to her end of the deal so now she
has the 78000 that he agreed to give her but hes still no better off

Asked on August 13, 2016 under Family Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the house is jointly owned, he has an equal right to enter, possess, use, reside in, etc. the house as her: she can't legally keep him out of what is, after all, his property as much as hers. He can enter, but probably should have with him a copy of the deed or title, so that if she does call the police and they respond, he can show that he is the lawful owner.
As to her not sticking to the deal: your father can best seek compensation for this if he actually divorces her; in the divorce, the distribution of assets and/or the amount of any spousal support can be adjusted to reflect sums already given to her.
(Your question stated that the are "separated"--if in fact they are already divorced, then he can sue her for breach of contract for taking  the money and not doing with it what she should have done.)


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