If you are in the sad situation where you have decided to separate, should you leave the family home? – Neil writes a quick FAQ

The family home is often the most valuable asset a couple own. A separating spouse or partner may wish to leave the family home for a variety of reasons, but before taking the drastic step of doing so, the implications should be carefully considered with a specialist family lawyer.

“It is not my fault that the relationship has broken up”

Guilt may be a driving factor for you to leave your house, but if you leave the family home, you may later regret the decision to do so. If you both jointly own the property, you are both legal owners and have the right to occupy unless a there is a court order in place. If one of you leaves the house, they will still have a right to return, the other person has no rights to keep them out (without a court order.)

It is not my house, should I leave?
Even though you legally do not own the house, provided you are in a civil partnership or marriage you are protected by ‘home rights’. These include a right to remain in the property. If you do divorce though, once those home rights come to an end.

Will I have to continue to pay the mortgage if I leave?
If you are joint owners with a joint mortgage then yes.

If I leave, then I will get penalised on a future financial settlement?
If you leave the family home, it doesn’t mean that you have surrendered your rights to the property. The courts will consider the couple’s former matrimonial home as an asset to be divided between you.

Whatever the scenario it is important that you get impartial advice from an experienced and qualified family law lawyer.

Our family law team offers a free consultation – call 01476 565 295 – we represent clients all over England and Wales