Family Home and Separation: What You Need to Know



There are is a lot to handle during separation, emotionally and financially. If you had kids with your partner, you will both try to shield them from it all. However, it’s not easy to keep them away from the big things, like deciding who stays in the family home.

To make all the appropriate arrangements and decisions, you must know your rights. You will have to overcome many uncomfortable moments and find solutions for you, your ex and your children if you have them. That all will be easier if you know some basic details about your position and rights.

1. Your legal rights

When it comes to resolving how to divide a property, the couples usually look for their legal standpoint. If you didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement that included your family home, then there are some legal facts you should bear in mind. You and your ex-partner both have an equal right to remain in the home. This means that you can’t force them out or be forced out of the property. If children are involved, however, the court will decide what is in their best interest. Additionally, when it comes to children’s wellbeing, the court may decide that you can stay in the family home until the children turn 18, or order the transfer of the lease to your name.

2. What to expect from the court ruling

The court has the final word when it comes to all disputes during the separation. It can order that the ownership of the family home will be unchanged, but that one of the parties has to leave the premises at the latest court appointed date. On the other hand, the ownership can be transferred to one of the parties which will then consequently receive fewer shares in other assets.

There is an instance when the court can order the selling of the property and proceeds split between the parties in beforehand agreed on proportions. Additionally, the court can order that the ownership is transferred to your child or children.  

3. In case of lease agreement

In case that you rent your home, it matters whose name is on the lease. If you both signed the lease agreement then you’re both liable to pay the rent. If one of the parties signed the agreement, then that person will pay the rent. If this is the case, you can both stay in the family home until the end of the lease agreement, finalization of divorce or civil partnership.

If you are the signee of the lease agreement, the best approach is to talk to your property owner and explain the situation. If you are the party that will stay, you have to update the information in the current agreement. However, if you are the one to move out, the property owner must end the current agreement and sign a new one with the party that stayed. In any moment, the property owner may refuse to rent the place only to one of you and then you’ll both have to move out.

4. If one of you is the owner

If ownership is in your partner’s name, then you probably don’t have any rights to the property. This means that if they sell the family home, you won’t get a share unless your ex-partner decides otherwise. However, if your partner excluded you from any further involvement regarding the family home, you may go before the court. Additionally, you may still have some rights to the property if you paid the mortgage or bills and can prove it.  

5. Hiring a lawyer

If you and your partner can’t come to a mutual agreement, then it’s best to hire a lawyer to handle further negotiations for you. You may find this step a bit hostile, but it’s actually the best solution for both parties. As stated on the website WithstandLawyers: “You need a lawyer when you are not able to come to an agreement with your partner or ex-partner or when you want your family or property arrangements sorted efficiently and effectively.”

Separation can be very hard for the children, as well as for you and your ex. It may even involve some unpleasant situations and can create an emotional turmoil. Family law serves to make the proceedings as fair as possible to all included parties. Therefore, lawyer’s job is to advise you, ensure the best possible outcome for you and explain all the details along the way.

Final word

Separation is not pleasant, but you and your ex-partner can try to finalize it in a civilized manner. In the end, it’s all about the compromise and finding the mutual solution for you both with the minimum emotional consequences. But if that is not possible then it’s best to go before the court and rely on it to protect both your interests.     

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