The risk of losing your home and uncertainty about future housing is a major worry when a relationship is ending. It’s important that you understand your legal rights. There is on line help available at Shelter www.direct.gov.uk etc .Alternatively, you can talk to Citizen’s Advice or a solicitor who will make sure that any rights you may have on the family home are protected.
In the short term, one option is to carry on living together until you’re ready and able to physically separate. For many couples they need this breathing space to find out more about their options before any big decisions are made. Although this arrangement can put quite a strain on a couple, provided it doesn’t go on for too long, it gives children the chance to get used to the idea of a separation whilst both parents are there to answer questions.
If you want to leave the home quickly, you could consider staying with family or friends if this is possible. If you are at risk of violence or abuse and have nowhere to go and need to leave immediately, you can contact the Domestic Violence Helpline, Women's Aid or Refuge. Alternatively, you can go to your local council for advice.
Longer term options will depend on a number of things such as whether you rent or own your home, whether the children will be living with you or not, what your financial situation is and what your rights are. You can check how these factors affect your personal situation at www.Direct.gov.uk.
Generally the options boil down to:
- You stay in the house and your partner moves out
- Your partner stays in the house and you move out
- You both leave and find two new places to live
- One of you moves out but keeps the option of returning at a later date.
It doesn’t necessarily follow that the house will have to be sold when you separate. The person whose name is on the tenancy agreement, or who owns the home, doesn't necessarily have to be the person who stays there.
Understanding your legal position and the financial consequences of any decisions you make will be an important part of the negotiations you have with your partner. A family mediator or family solicitor can help you take a realistic look at all the options before you decide what the best option for your family’s situation would be.
Follow this link for further information on what to expect after a separation