Taking the decision to separate is not an easy one and the added complexity of living in the same home can make the situation feel unbearable.

It is important to remember that if you are married you both have a right to reside in the family home.  This is also the case if the family home is only in one of your names.  If the family home is in one person’s name, then the other person can apply for what is called a home rights notice.

So, what can you do?

Informal discussion

In the first instance, you could try and speak with your ex.  Chances are, that your ex will feel equally as uncomfortable with the living arrangements as you do.  You could ask if they would be willing to consider leaving and moving into alternative accommodation.

You could yourself look at alternative accommodation; however, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice before you leave the family home because there are implications of doing so.

How we can help

We can assist you in negotiating with your ex as to whether it is possible for either of you to vacate the family home.  We can provide you with specialist legal advice and provide a calm, pragmatic forum for discussion.  We can also assist with discussions surrounding the practicalities of someone leaving the family home from who pays the mortgage and bills, to arrangements for your children and look at agreeing when your ex can and cannot enter the property.

If these negotiations are unsuccessful it is possible to apply to the court for a court order.  However, there are very specific circumstances in which an order is granted and applying for an order would always be a last resort.

What is an occupation order?

An occupation order is an order made by the court which stops your ex from living in the family home.  This order is only made in specific circumstances and generally reserved for serious cases of domestic abuse.  The court would apply a balance of harm test which means that it considers whether the risk of your ex being in the property puts you at a greater risk of harm than the risk of harm to your ex through them not being able to reside there.  That includes considerations such as your ex’s ability to find somewhere else to live.

The best thing you can do if you feel trapped in your current situation is to get expert legal advice today.  To speak to one of our friendly solicitors for a confidential chat give us a call today on 01423 594680.

Andrew Meehan is an experienced family lawyer specialising in complex divorces involving significant or hidden assets, as well as cases involving children.

He is recommended for family law by both Chambers 2019 (York, Hull and surrounding regions) and the Legal 500 2018 (Leeds/West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire region).

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be replied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing enquiries@harrogatefamilylaw.co.uk.