Should You Stay or Should You Go? Navigating the Family Home Dilemma During Divorce or Separation
Should You Stay or Should You Go? Navigating the Family Home Dilemma During Divorce or Separation
Elizabeth Taylor

9 July 2024

If your relationship has come to an end, cohabitating with your ex-partner might become increasingly difficult. But should you leave, or could that cause more problems?

Understanding Your Rights as a Property Owner

If you are the sole or joint owner of the property, your ownership status remains unchanged even if you leave the house. This means that you will still own the house, and it cannot be sold without the consent and participation of all registered owners. Your ex-partner cannot legally sell the house behind your back, although they might start marketing it for sale without your agreement.

Returning to the Property

Once you leave the property, returning might be challenging. A sole or joint owner cannot be excluded without a court order, meaning your ex-partner cannot legally change the locks. An attempt to return could, however, cause friction or high levels of acrimony. Additionally, if you have found other accommodation, proving you cannot afford or manage to live outside the family home could be difficult.

Financial Considerations

Before leaving, carefully consider how you will fund your new living costs. Can you maintain these expenses on your own, or will you need ongoing financial support? Also, think about how the costs of the family home, including any joint liabilities, will be funded in your absence.

Protecting Your Rights as a Non-Owner Spouse

If you are the spouse of the sole owner, take prompt legal action to protect your Home Rights at the Land Registry.

Tenancy Concerns

If you live in rented accommodation, review your rental agreement before leaving, as there might be relevant terms. If your home is local authority or housing association accommodation, consult with them to avoid making yourself intentionally homeless.

Safety Concerns

If you are concerned about your safety or that of your children, there are various court orders that can help. Always speak to the police if you believe you are at immediate risk of harm. Family courts can also issue safeguarding orders in certain circumstances.

Seek Early Legal Advice

We strongly advise taking early legal advice before leaving the family home. The specialist solicitors in our family law team are here to assist you. Contact Elizabeth Taylor, Daniel Weintroub, and Kelly Geter on 01256 460830 for expert guidance or email [email protected]

At Phillips Law, our family law team provides you with the support and advice you need during this challenging time. Let us help you make informed decisions and protect your rights.

 

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