Accepting that a relationship is over can be difficult for all involved. With lockdown restrictions largely ending some people may be considering whether to take the step to move out of the family home and start divorce proceedings or to separate formally. This can be emotionally and financially difficult, particularly if children are involved.

What should I consider before moving out of the Family Home?


The property. A divorce process can take anything up to 6-12 months to resolve - although it can be longer if there is a dispute about the finances. You should consider whether the property you move into is appropriate for the time you will be there. Moving back to parents or with friends can be a short-term fix but may not always be suitable in the longer term.

Affordability. We advise dealing with the divorce and splitting matrimonial assets at the same time. If you are unable to agree how to split assets including selling a property or splitting joint assets this can add a considerable amount of time to the divorce process. As such you should consider carefully if you can afford to move out and live in another property until that has been resolved. 

The children. If you have children how will childcare be split? Are the children going to move with you or will they stay in the home? Parents separating can be upsetting for children and so both parents need to consider carefully where the children will live and for how long. Any arrangement should be made based on what is in the best interests of the children. If they do not move with you then you need to consider whether any new home you live in will be suitable for the children to spend time with you comfortably and with minimal disruption.

Selling the Family Home. If it is agreed that the family home should be sold this will usually be managed by both parties. If you have moved out of the family home, it can sometimes be more difficult to manage the sale process. We would not recommend that the home is sold before an arrangement about the division of assets has been reached and approved by the Court. 

Tax consequences. If a couple owns multiple properties, then typically a capital gains liability will arise if those properties are transferred or sold. However, a capital gains liability can sometimes arise if one party moves out of the family home. We would recommend getting propert advice from a lawyer or accountant about whether a liability will arise and how much that will be.

Resolution. If you wish to retain the family home after the breakdown of the relationship, we advise that you remain living in the family home. That is not always possible and so, if you have to move out, it can sometimes be difficult to return to the property particularly if your ex-partner is reluctant to leave. You may have to take further steps to be able to return such as Court applications. 

How can DPM Legal help?


Our family department can advise you on your options both in respect of the family home and other assets in the event of a relationship breakdown. We can advise on all aspects of your separation. 

We offer an initial appointment for 30-45 minutes free of charge to discuss matters. Please contact Sarah Watts on 01483 521 510 or Sarah.Watts@dpmlegal.co.uk or complete our enquiry form.

Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate and correct, the information provided does not constitute any form of advice.

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