Harold G Walker

Harold G Walker Solicitors

Your Friend-In-Law for over 77 years

Rights to stay in the matrimonial home.


by Rob Price



Matters might become so fraught at the end of your marriage that the only realistic thing that you and possibly your children can do is leave the matrimonial home and stay elsewhere, at least until outstanding financial matters have been sorted out.

Your parents perhaps, or another relative or close friend. Private rental. Even a refuge if you are in immediate fear of your safety.


The problem

Apart from injunction rights to move back in, at the exclusion of your spouse, if the property is owned in your spouse’s own name only, on the title deeds, you have no right to remain in the home.


The solution

You can register your right to of occupational rights to the property, through us, to the land registry, who will register your interest as a spouse to reside in the property, on the title deeds, which will prevent your spouse from selling the property or borrowing against it.


Financial protection

Therefore, the financial interest in the property will be preserved, so that it can form part of the financial settlement between you. Even if you are not now living there.

The alternative (a potential nightmare), would be that your spouse could sell up and disappear, leaving you with a very complicated route to seeking a fair share of the matrimonial assets.

The fact is with registration of your matrimonial home rights, whether you live there or not at the moment, your spouse cannot exercise any dealings with the property. Cannot remortgage, sell or otherwise borrow against the former matrimonial home to which you are now registered as having an interest as a spouse.


Practical measures you can take

The mortgage and utilities will still have to be met of course, and It may be as well to either put money aside for this or pay direct, but only if you have the means to do so. Keep receipts! We can advise about what to pay, or indeed whether you can pay, depending on your own circumstances, to protect your financial interest whilst the process of seeking a fair financial settlement to meet your ongoing needs is addressed.

It is always a good idea to contact the lender about it all, so that they can help with any financial difficulty experienced paying the mortgage during the process of divorce and of any delay experienced seeking a financial remedy. Keeping them informed is crucial to protect your financial interest.


Non-Court Dispute Resolution.

Of course, if appropriate, (and indeed it is encouraged within the legal framework of family law), you can be referred by us to non-court dispute resolution (NCDR), once your interest has been registered with the land registry. There are many different types of NCDR, and we can advise you about these.

This may enable a resolution to any financial dispute between you without recourse to the court, which could save you time and money on lawyers and minimise stress and delay.


Application for divorce (No-fault).

Then, when you’re ready, you can get the application for divorce under way formally with us. Until there’s a financial settlement, you have a right to live in that property as a spouse anyway, but registering your right protects the financial interest that you may have in it upon separation.


Application to court for financial relief.

As a last resort we can of course apply to court for you if you can’t reach a solution and formally seek a court order to resolve matters. Negotiations can always continue even if this path has to be taken, for example your spouse initially refuses to co-operate forcing you to apply to the court for financial relief. The court itself has the power to refer your case back to NCDR if, in the circumstances this is the most beneficial route.


Have you got children? Because the Courts really don’t like them being unsettled. It may be much more in their interests, for the benefit of their ongoing welfare, for you to stay at the home with them at the exclusion of your spouse. This is something else of great importance that we can discuss with you.


Other important factors.

In these unsettled times, they threaten bankruptcy, get legal advice immediately. You must also address changing your will or creating one at as early a stage as possible, and we can help you with both of these issues.



Do not be bullied. You have as much right to apply for financial settlement which may incorporate the matrimonial home as you would if you jointly owned it.


Come and see us and discuss these important issues where one of our experts will be on hand to advise in a no-obligation initial free half-hour telephone conversation or meeting. Register your rights of occupation now.