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Marriage over. Should I move out? Will I still be liable for the mortgage?

13.12.2018 21:04:00


My wife has decided to call time on our marriage. She's studying at the moment so can't afford to move out. Long term, she says she's happy for me to keep the house and have the kids most of the time. She says she will forego her share of the equity in the house in exchange for me letting her live rent free for a year until she gets herself sorted. Whilst I want the separation sorted faster, I agreed this in order to keep the kids in the family home to minimise the disruption for them. The thing is, she's refusing to confirm the agreement in writing and I suspect that after living off me for a year, she'll just go after half the house in any event. So I'm wondering if I can either just move out or kick her out. If I go, is there anything I can do to remove liability to pay the mortgage? Or can I get an order to get her out? Surely there is some way to live separately without waiting for a divorce?

Replies (1)

Kate Daly
14.12.2018 16:48:07

Hi Kris, thanks for your message. Unfortunately, there is no legally binding way to live separately without a divorce. You can make private agreements and have them drawn up into a separation agreement but they are not legally binding and you can change your mind at any time. The only way to legally formalise your agreement is to divorce and apply to the court for a financial order. If you can agree to an arrangement between you this can be a consent order (cheaper and quicker) – if you can’t agree you will need to make an application to the court for a judge to decide what should happen (which is expensive and time-consuming). You have to be at the Decree Nisi stage of the divorce before a judge will consider you finances (about 12 weeks from filing the divorce).

Legally, you both own the home and therefore you are both liable for the mortgage whether you occupy the property or not. Neither one of you can ‘force’ the other out without an application to the court for an occupation order. You need to have a very strong reason for this such as the threat of domestic violence.

We do offer ‘Sorting out Separation' sessions for couples who need help agreeing on the terms of their separation. You can call us on 0203 004 4695 or email us if you need more help.


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