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What are my rights if I leave the marital home?

Getting a divorce can take time. Depending on the complexity of your finances, a divorce can take anywhere from 3 months, to well over a year. Before the divorce is finalised, one party may choose to leave the family home, prompting the common question: what are my rights if I leave the marital home?

In this article, we’ll answer the question ‘what are my rights if I leave the marital home’ and deal with some common issues divorcing couples face regarding marital home rights.


What are my rights if I leave the marital home: is it the right move?

If you’re asking ‘what are my rights if I leave the marital home’, you probably already know that you want to move out.

There are various reasons why people choose to leave the family home. The arguing may be getting too much or it may just seem that it’s the next logical step in the divorce process.

The family home usually forms an important part of the divorce financial settlement. Sometimes, one party may buy the other out, or the home may be sold and the proceeds split. Alternatively, one party may remain living in the home, but may agree to sell it at a set point in the future (when the children become adults, for example). Negotiations surrounding the family home can be some of the most difficult and it may be that moving out is one way to ensure that both parties get the space they need to conduct more objective negotiations.

What are my rights if I leave the marital home


Marital home rights explained

If the property is jointly owned, both parties are legally entitled to be in the home.

If the property is only in your spouse’s name, you may still have a right to stay in the home. In order to protect your interest in the marital home before your divorce and financial settlement are finalised, you can register your matrimonial home rights with the land registry.

Usually, the marital home rights will end when the financial settlement is finalised and the divorce concluded.

For more information on your rights to property following the breakdown of a relationship, take a look at our article: Your divorce: What are my rights to property after separation?


What are my rights if I leave the marital home: can my spouse sell without my consent?

If you are concerned that your spouse may be attempting to sell the marital home, it is vital to act quickly and seek advice from a solicitor. Fast action is particularly important if the property is only in your spouse’s name.


What are my rights if I leave the marital home: can my spouse change the locks?

Technically, yes. However, this course of action is rarely advisable. If one party temporarily leaves the marital home, they are legally still able to return and enter the property. Therefore, if one party changes the locks, the other could change them again. Changing the locks is likely to serve solely to create further animosity. If your spouse changes the locks, it’s highly advisable to seek legal advice before taking action.

As always, it is best to seek legal advice on your marital home rights and the implications of leaving, before vacating the property.


Other articles that may be of interest to you?

What adultery means for your divorce

What are my rights to property after separation?

How long does a divorce take?

What is the divorce process?

When is decree absolute granted in a divorce?

Decree Nisi – What does this mean in a divorce?

What are the first steps to divorce?

Is a cheap divorce really possible?

What is a managed divorce?


How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with an amicable divorce

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to divorce, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on amicable divorce

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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06th February 2020

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