You do not automatically lose your rights over the family home if you move out.
Particularly where property is owned by both or either of you, your name on the title, or a matrimonial home rights notice registered at the Land Registry, will protect your position until the finances of the family are dealt with in divorce proceedings.
This is particularly important in cases of domestic abuse, where the victim needs to move out of the home for their safety.
And domestic abuse comes in many forms, not just physical.
Controlling behaviour, including financial abuse by refusing access to funds, can undermine the victims’ confidence and sense of self, and so they fear destitution if they leave.
It can be very difficult for victims in this position to understand that the court has power to overrule the abusive spouse in awarding shares in property, capital, and assets as well as maintenance where appropriate. Clients may fear the reaction all their abusive spouse to any claim against them, and it is important that we help them to understand that they are entitled to a fair deal. This is not a gift from the abusive spouse -it is their entitlement as a result of the marriage.
So we encourage our clients in this position to move to a separate address where they can refuse their abuser entry. They are amazed at how different they feel after even only one week of living without walking on eggshells.
And in spite of their fear, in the vast majority of cases, we still manage to achieve a fair settlement by consent without having to go to a trial.
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