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  1. #1
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    Sep 2019
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    Angry Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: NJ

    Wife and I are divorcing. Since 2015, we've lived in my mother's house with our two children rent-free in exchange for me maintaining the property and managing her paperwork while she works overseas.

    After being seduced over 2018, wife announces she's giving up on the marriage in January and wants a divorce, but she intends to live at the house for the sake of the kids on the condition that she would move out if she started seeing someone else. She begins her sexual affair in Spring of this year and continues to come home like she's completely innocent. I discover everything in July but she denies it to this day. Divorce lawyers get involved, and I learn about "marital status quo" in NJ which informally prevents me or the homeowner my mother from kicking her out of the house. By Labor Day, she moves out on her own accord to a single residential apartment a few towns away allowing her to take furniture and household items from our home. According to my divorce lawyer, my mother is now free to change the locks and restrict access since it is not I who broke the marital status quo and this home is not a marital asset.

    Now she threatens to call the cops for not letting her freely come back to this house whenever she feels like it. She feels she is protected by tenant laws of NJ. So as a guest of this house who has never contributed anything financially and is also part of a family residing here who also doesn't pay any rent, does she still get categorized as a tenant in NJ and therefore get tenant protections?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    When she moved out on her own accord she gave up her tendency. She no longer has tenants rights.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    If called to stand by, the police are unlikely to force anyone to allow your wife to re-enter the home absent a court order. They MAY ask if she has ANY items still inside the home, such as clothing or personal items. If so, and if she still receives mail at the address, it may make it tough to argue that she is not a resident or authorized to enter. But, the police are not likely to force the issue as they tend to be reluctant to interfere in what is likely to be seen as a civil matter.

    Perhaps the landlord - your mom - should change the locks now.

    Is there a signed lease or anything that lists your wife's name as being a tenant or otherwise responsible for the property?
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    She relinquished any tenant rights when she voluntarily changed her domicile. Her only claim to access would be based on the home being the marital home. Some states have some odd laws regarding access and even use of the marital home. I suggest you seek the court issue a ruling giving you exclusive possession of the marital home. Once you have that along with her relinquishing her rights as a tenant, she has no right to enter without your or your mothers permission. Determining a house to be the marital home has nothing to do with the home being an asset of either party. Rented units can be considered a marital home. Any residence the married couple lives within could be considered the marital home. Tenant laws do not apply to issues involving marital home issues.

    but even with that said, your housing wasn’t free. You had a quid pro quo arrangement where you bartered rather than paying your rent in cash.

    You are incorrect in your belief she held no tenant rights because she didn’t pay for anything. Her living there is all it took to establish her tenancy and associated rights. She was not merely a guest. Until she moved, make no mistake about it that she had all rights as a tenant.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    Okay thank you all for your input. In general, I'm hearing that she may or may not have had tenant rights before she moved out, but she definitely relinquished tenant rights when she moved out.

    @cdwjava: No lease or any kind of paperwork in regards to our living arrangement.

    Here's a little snafu to also consider. She has been lying and manipulating facts and exploiting loopholes because that's who she is. In this case, she claims that her new place is considered a storage unit and secondary residence making the marital home still the primary residence therefore claiming she never truly abandoned the marital home. Does she have any legal basis to declare such a thing? I have video and GPS proof that she brought her items directly to a residential apartment building which she is now where she's receiving shipments from Amazon. She never stopped at a storage unit facility. She has also spent every night sleeping elsewhere since her move. I also find it unlikely that such a big residential apartment building would give her any access to any apartments unless she signed a residential lease to receive the keys. She also indicated earlier to me via text message about something else that she would be living in that town for at least 12 months, which makes it sound like a 1-year lease term. Now I'm already certain she would never be able to produce a receipt for a storage unit if asked, and it would be consistent of her to lie about having a signed lease copy. So with all that in mind, did she find a terrible loophole she can exploit and regain access to the marital home?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    Oh, she definitely had tenants rights before she moved out. There is no question of that. Whether she has relinquished them will depend on her actions since Labor Day. With your new info, whether she relinquished her rights isn’t such a sure thing now.


    Has she stayed in your home since Labor Day? If she has, it may complicate things since that could show she hasn’t relinquished her rights to the home.

    I suggest you get this into the courts and ask the court to declare she has relinquished her tenancy and along with that you need to seek sole possession of the marital home. As I said, those are two different issues that are only loosely associated with each other. If you don’t have both of those issues settled, she can cause you grief by seeking possession of the marital home, especially since she is telling you she hasn’t obtained another residence. That couldn’t result with you moving out until the divorce is settled.



    but gps proof? Do you want to get slammed with a restraining order for stalking her? I suggest you keep that under your hat unless your attorney tells you to disclose it


    and stop tracking her. That can really piss off a judge

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    @jk:

    She has come to visit but she has not since slept overnight nor stayed more than a few hours at a time, roughly 4-6 times in 2 weeks. She welcomed herself to our home-cooked dinners however. That leech.

    Sole possession of the marital home is not something I can seek as neither of us actually own this home at all. This has been mother's house since 2009 in name and in deed. We didn't join her in this house till 2015 but there's been no transfer of ownership when I brought my family here, and my mother is still a resident here herself. That's why I had so many questions about if it's legal for her to change the locks on her house after my wife moved out.

    The video data came from a dashcam that she is very well aware of. In fact, they discussed it on video and then opted to turn it off for the second trip. The GPS data comes from a vehicle monitoring device that she is also very aware of as we purchased it together with our family plan phone lines and still pay for monthly through her company account. She decides not to unplug it when she uses the marital vehicle, there's nothing sneaky on my end going on.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    So don’t listen. If you end up on the street because she seeks and is awarded sole possession of the marital home, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ownership has nothing to do with possession of the marital home. It is ordered when there are rented apartments, rented or owned homes. Even if (using you as a reference point) if you owned the home free and clear solely in your name before you got married, the court can still award your wife sole possession of the marital home and kick you to the curb. There are cases where the sole owner was booted even though they also had a mortgage to pay. They had to go out and rent another place and let their spouse live in the home while they paid the mortgage and the rent on a new place.


    The marital home is the residence the couple lived in together; nothing more. Ownership or lessee is irrelevant.

    The video and gps: while you were living as a couple you can get away with things like that (even though it can technically be illegal) . Once there is a separation you are stalking her and eavesdropping. There is something sneaky going on. You are utilizing the gps and camera to stalk her or surveillance her. Stop doing that or risk a hell of a dressing down, if not actual criminal charges, from the judge.

    Regarding your state:

    It is a crime to purposely intercept any wire, electronic, or oral communication. It is also a crime to disclose or use the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained unlawfully. n.J. sTaT. 2a:156a-3. However, if the contents of the communication have “become public knowledge or public information,” then the disclosure is not a crime n.J. sTaT. 2a:156a-3.
    The statute makes an exception and allows interception if the person intercepting is a party to the communication, or if one party has given prior consent, unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act. n.J. sTaT. 2a:156a-4. The fact that one subscriber to a particular telephone has consented does not authorize interception of conversations by other parties who use that telephone. n.J. sTaT. 2a:156a-4.
    Civil liability for unlawful interception or disclosure can be imposed for the greater of actual damages, $100 per day of violation $1,000, and can include punitive damages, attorney fees, and litigation costs. n.J. sTaT. 2a:156a-24.
    regarding stalking:


    2C:12-10 Definitions; stalking designated a crime; degrees.

    1. a. As used in this act:

    (1)"Course of conduct" means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering with a person's property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person; or repeatedly conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a person.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    Quote Quoting jk
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    So don’t listen. If you end up on the street because she seeks and is awarded sole possession of the marital home, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ownership has nothing to do with possession of the marital home. It is ordered when there are rented apartments, rented or owned homes. Even if (using you as a reference point) if you owned the home free and clear solely in your name before you got married, the court can still award your wife sole possession of the marital home and kick you to the curb. There are cases where the sole owner was booted even though they also had a mortgage to pay. They had to go out and rent another place and let their spouse live in the home while they paid the mortgage and the rent on a new place.
    And in NJ there are cases exactly the opposite.


    Once the wife voluntarily moved out and established another domicile, she gave up her rights to the tenancy and to the marital home.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_c...en&as_sdt=4,31

    In this case the court once again recognized that it has broad and equitable powers to enjoin a spouse from the marital home. Here the court found that where a spouse voluntarily left the marital home, and maintained a home elsewhere and wished to return to the marital home, even where there was no definitive proof of danger of physical or emotional harm to the remaining spouse and children if he returned, the spouse could be enjoined from the marital home. The court further held that it would be in the best interests of the children if their lives were not traumatically invaded by the defendant's desire to reside in the marital home.
    I think your stalking analyses and interception of communication a bit far fetched. Just saying in this situation.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Almost-Ex-Wife Call Cops for Access to Mother's House

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    And in NJ there are cases exactly the opposite.


    Once the wife voluntarily moved out and established another domicile, she gave up her rights to the tenancy and to the marital home.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_c...en&as_sdt=4,31



    I think your stalking analyses and interception of communication a bit far fetched. Just saying in this situation.
    But has the wife established another domicile? The wife says no. Leaving the current home itself does not fulfill the requirement. She must actually establish a domicile and so far she is stating she hasn’t. If a wife flees due to fear of harm or other issues to escape and doesn’t establish an actual domicile, the requirements in the opinion stated don’t apply.

    given the wife has been allowed to dine with the family I don’t see a concern regarding the children as stated in the opinion cited.


    as to the eavesdropping: it is clearly illegal to intercept the conversations of another without their permission. . It is also illegal to disclose the illegally obtained conversation as well. I don’t see how you can even suggest it is far fetched. Can you state a basis under which the eavesdropping would be lawful?


    As to the gps tracking: it can be unlawful. Not enough info to call it here but it isn’t wise to walk into court with information that might have been obtained unlawfully. It also depends on what he is using the info for. There are both privacy issues and a concern of possible stalking. Op needs to speak with his attorney about the matter.


    I understand your points budwad but the op is ignoring the possibilities entirely. That isn’t a smart move. He has a lawyer and should be addressing these issues with his lawyer who has access to all of the facts at hand.

    And regardless of whether the guy can be prosecuted for either issue: a judge can take offense to the actions and make life difficult for,the op. He needs to be concerned with how the judge views his actions as much as the legality of them.

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