When a marriage unfortunately breaks down, in most situations it is necessary for one of the parties to find somewhere else to live. Most of us are not lucky enough to own a property with two houses on it, one for each of you!
A common misconception is that if you move out of the home and leave your ex there, you are giving up your share of the property.
This makes people think they have to “stake their claim” on the home by staying put. This can add more stress and unhappiness to the situation as many couples find they cannot successfully live under the one roof while separated.
When a court is asked to determine the outcome of a property settlement, one of the key things the court takes into consideration is the financial and non-financial contributions each party has made to the assets belonging to the marriage.
The contributions you made to your home would include things like:
using your savings for the deposit;
making regular mortgage repayments;
renovating (improving) the property in your spare time; and
cleaning and maintaining the property in your spare time.
From watering the garden to cleaning out the gutters, everything you did does not just disappear as soon as you pack your bags and walk out the door.
Your entitlement to a share of the property will not be reduced simply because you no longer live in your home.
Your share of the home will remain intact until a final property settlement is either agreed between you and your ex-partner or decided by a Court.
We understand every situation is different and how the decision to pack up and leave your home is a very difficult one. Separation is not only a roller coaster of emotions; sometimes it is difficult to find alternate accommodation and financial support. While this might be the case, leaving is usually better than staying in volatile and stressful environments, which should be avoided especially if there are children living in the home.
Sometimes people are fortunate enough to find a relative or friend they can stay with, but this is often only a short term arrangement. It may then become necessary for the party who moved out to start paying rent for other accommodation. If this party is paying rent, it often means that they can no longer afford to pay the existing mortgage and/or assist with any other expenses related to their old home.