Matrimonial Home Rights give protection to a husband, wife or civil partner under the Family Law Act 1996 where the matrimonial home is owned by one spouse but the other spouse has a right of occupation.
So, in a nutshell, Home Rights protect a person’s interest in the family home, even where they don't legally own it, as long as their spouse does.
We strongly advise that if you are seeking to rely on Home Rights, they should be registered by a notice at the Land Registry. If they are not registered, your Home Rights will not take effect. On making an application, any mortgage lender will be notified. There is no fee for making an application.
Once Home Rights have been registered against a property, they are recorded as a charge. Whilst the spouses remain married, written consent is required to remove Home Rights once registered.
Home rights give an individual the right to:
• not be evicted by the other spouse (providing that a court order does not prevent them from being there);
• seek an order from the court to allow you to return to the home if you moved out;
• pay the mortgage (in case the owning spouse will not);
• be informed by any mortgage company that they intend to issue proceedings against the property; and
• prevent the owning spouse from selling the property.
The registration of Home Rights does not prevent a mortgagee from beginning proceedings for the possession of a property.
However, once registered, Home Rights notices will fall away once a marriage or civil partnership has ended (usually by pronouncement of Decree Absolute).
It is therefore important that a non-owning spouse takes steps to prevent or delay Decree Absolute if they have not made arrangements for future housing nor have reached a financial settlement.
If you would like to discuss any of the points considered above, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the family team on 01635 580858.