FAQs about Divorce

MATRIMONIAL HOME RIGHTS

‘Matrimonial Home Rights’ is the compilation of statutory rights which intend to protect a spouse in the occupation of the matrimonial home.

The Family Law Act 1996

  • Gives rights to non-owning spouse to live in the matrimonial home
  • In some situations spouse’s rights of occupation can be a charge on the estate and can binding on third parties, i.e. on mortgagees.
  • Protects the non-owning spouse in occupation in the case of proceedings for possession by a mortgagee.

THE RIGHT TO OCCUPY THE MATRIMONIAL HOME

•             In most circumstances, a husband and wife live together in the matrimonial home but only one of them own the property, that is the conveyance was in the name of only one person. Section 30 of the Act gave the non-owning spouse ‘home rights’ as against the other spouse provided that the couple is legally married, they are both alive, and the home is the matrimonial home.

  • The rights last as long as the marriage. They end on divorce or death.
  • The rights apply to same sex couples under the Civil Partnership Act 2004

MATRIMONIAL HOME RIGHTS AS A CHARGE ON THE ESTATE

  • Section 31 (1)-(3) states that the non-owning spouse can occupy the matrimonial house by virtue of home rights which are a charge on the estate or interest and are treated in the same manner  as equitable interest of the owning spouse.
  • The rights last as long as the marriage. They end on death or divorce.
  • Non-owning spouse is entitled to enforce the home rights without first registering them. However, it is essential to register them if the non-owning spouse want to be protected against third parties (s 31(10)

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