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Here we provide basic advice and information for people who are going through a relationship breakdown and are concerned about their housing situation.
Your long term right to remain in the family home will depend on whether you are married to your partner or have a registered civil partnership and on the present legal rights of each of you to the home.
Neither you or your spouse can be evicted from your home without a court order.
You may be able to ask the court to grant an occupation order to allow you to remain in the home until divorce, and to transfer the tenancy to you after divorce. You should get legal advice about this early on.
Many people assume that if you live together, you have the same rights as a married couple. However, this is not the case;
If you would like to stay in the home, you will need to go to court to apply for an Occupation Order.
In the meantime, you can continue to pay the rent yourself.
You may be able to get housing benefit to help with this, even if your name is not on the tenancy agreement.
Your landlord does not have to accept rent from you if you aren't an official tenant and you don't have an occupation order.
Speak to your landlord if you're in this position and see if you can get the tenancy transferred into your name.
An Occupation Order lasts initially for up to six months, after which time you'll need to apply to the court to get your rights renewed for up to another six months, which is the maximum for cohabitants.
If you are married, or in a registered civil partnership, you have matrimonial home rights which prevent your partner from evicting you from the home without a court order, whether or not you are legally the owner or joint owner of the property.
The property cannot be sold without your consent, although you will need to register an interest in it through a solicitor to prevent this.
The court has power to grant an occupation order to the partner who does not legally own the home for as long as it sees fit, whether or not violence has taken place.
In the event of a relationship breakdown, people may be worried about how they are going to pay for:
Check if you can get legal aid here.
The Legal Help scheme can pay for the cost of your solicitor writing letters and negotiating on your behalf.
Under the scheme, you can get up to two hours' worth of advice and help from a solicitor.
For matrimonial cases, the limit is three hours work and in all cases the solicitor can extend the amount of time spent working on your case, in some circumstances by up to five hours.
Your solicitor will work out whether your income is low enough to qualify for help under this scheme. In addition, many solicitors also operate a free or low-cost interview scheme where anyone, regardless of their income, can get limited advice.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, get help quickly. Call the police.
Experienced and helpful people will deal with your situation sympathetically.
The National Centre for Domestic Violence also provide free, fast and effective legal support to survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
In some cases of domestic violence the courts will be involved, either through the police or through you. The courts have powers that could help protect you and your family. These include:
If the courts grant any form of order. you should obtain a copy. You can then show this to the police if the order is broken.
If you've been the victim of domestic violence, find out about getting and injunction here.
It is vital to get advice as early as possible, even if things are only looking bad or are in their early stages.
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