What to do if your ex won’t move out.

“Our relationship has ended but my ex-partner won’t move out of the house that we own (or rent).”

When a relationship is over one of the hardest decisions will be who leaves.

Both you and your spouse or ex-partner are entitled to live in your home after separation regardless of whose name is on the rental agreement or the title of the property.

Neither party can be forced to leave just because the property is not in their name, unless the Court orders it.

Decided to move out?

If you have decided to move out, you should be aware that leaving the property it will not affect your entitlement to a share of the property. Any rights you have built up during the relationship will remain even if you leave.

If you fear violence, you should seek advice immediately and take steps to ensure your immediate safety.

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Exclusive Occupancy Order

Sometimes one party can obtain a sole occupancy order requiring the other party to leave the home. The Court can make what is called an Exclusive Occupancy Order of the house for either spouse. That means you can live in the house, without your spouse living there until the property has been divided. Usually when the Court makes an order of this kind, the responsibility to ensure the upkeep and presentation of the house will be on the remaining party. In circumstances where you are renting you may also need to consider if you can afford the rent.

When the Court makes this kind of order, it will look at the needs and resources of the individual parties and the children. This will usually only be made in exceptional situations where there is family violence or threats are being made by one spouse against the other, especially if the children are affected, or the house has been adjusted because somebody has a disability.

If you find yourself in circumstances such as these it would be best to get individual tailored advice, especially in circumstances where you can no longer meet your financial obligations.

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The information in this article is not legal advice and is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your particular circumstance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Solicitor Director
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner