In most cases at the time of separation, there is a family home involved whether it is owned or rented and it is important that parties decide what is to happen with the family home. Often where there are children, it is agreed for the children’s main carer to remain in the home until the children reach the age of majority to ensure the children remain settled and have security during their minor years. Although this is not always the case.
If the separation is mutual and agreed it is possible for a separating couple to continue to live together in the same house until it is sold, transferred or until one party can obtain alternative accommodation whether it be rented or purchased. If married, it is however important that the couple observe the separate household rule which means that the couple effectively live under the same roof whilst living separate lives. You would therefore need to sleep, eat and carry out general daily chores separately this will ensure that you meet the necessary requirements for a divorce.
In other cases, a couple will struggle to continue to live together but neither is willing to move out. In these types of situations, it is possible to involve the Court and make an application for an Occupation Order. This type an application can be made in respect of rented or owned properties alike. An Occupation Order sets out who has the right to stay, return or be excluded from a family home. It will not change the financial entitlement to a home if it is owned and is usually a short-term measure depending on circumstances. If a Court is to exclude one person from the home, the Judge will need to be satisfied that the excluded party has alternative accommodation available or the ability to secure alternative accomodation.
Occupation Orders can do different things depending on your circumstances and the application can be made on an urgent basis. If you think you need an occupation order you should get legal advice first. A solicitor can explain what type of order you can get depending on your circumstances.
If you wish to discuss these or any other family law issues, please contact Emma Hartley of Newtons Solicitors. Emma offers a first class approach to what can be a difficult and upsetting time. Newtons offer a free half an hour confidential appointment and can be flexible when needed. We have car parking and wheelchair access.