Moving out my ex-spouse after divorce settlement court order

I live in Wake county. Ex-spouse is refusing to move out of the house that is entirely distributed to me after the Equitable Distribution Order settlement. Based on the court “order”, the property deed is transferred to me. Based on the same court order, ex is is granted an another house. However ex is refusing to leave the property that is granted to me. Ex is technically trespassing my property now. What is the best way to move ex out?

Also, is it legal for me to change the lock if ex is out for shopping?
I am paying for all utilities bills. Is it legal for me to cut utilities to the property? Hoping that will force ex out. Please advice.

Background: Ex-spouse is living in the house (granted to me now and refusing to leave) since 2009. On Date of Separation Sep 2018 I moved out of that house.

Assuming your separation agreement or court order explicitly provides that the house that your ex-spouse is currently in is distributed to you as your sole and separate property and the terms are final and binding, then you can change the locks and file either a breach of contract lawsuit or a contempt motion.

If the terms are in a separation agreement, the separation agreement is final and binding if both parties have signed it and both signatures are notarized. For a separation agreement, you would file a breach of contract lawsuit.

If the terms are in a court order, the court order is final in binding if the judge has signed it and it has been file stamped at the clerk’s office. For a court order, you would file a contempt motion (called a motion for order to appear and show cause).

It is better to change the locks and/or file a lawsuit/motion rather than turn off all utilities, however, if the above assumptions are true, then it would be fine to turn off the utilities.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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