Mother with teenaged son

If you are married to your ex-partner, the home the two of you shared is called the matrimonial home. The law says you each have an equal right to occupy that home, regardless of whose name is on the deed or the lease unless you have a court order or a legal agreement saying otherwise.

If you have been living in a common-law relationship, occupation of the home you have been sharing legally belongs to whichever one of you has your name on the deed or mortgage. If both of your names are on either of these documents, then you both have a legal right to remain in the home.

You can get a criminal court or family court order to keep your ex-partner out of the family home. Learn more about this.

Once you have an order that says your ex-partner cannot enter the family home, you may have the locks changed. We offer some tips on changing the locks in our post on our website, Family Court and Beyond.

However, the abusive person may still find a way into your home. Anyone leaving an abusive relationship is recommended to create a safety plan and to keep it up-to-date as circumstances change in your life and the life of your ex-partner.

We offer lots of safety planning tips on Connect with your local women’s shelter for further support; in most cases you won’t have to live in the shelter to get guidance from their staff. Women in rural areas might also want to check out our information on safety issues in small communities.