By Published On: 17 May 20242 min read

Divorce and separation are complex and emotionally challenging, especially when they involve property, finances, and children. For most people, the family home is their single most valuable asset—a place of safety and security. Therefore, understanding your rights in relation to property during a marital or civil partnership breakdown is crucial.

What Are Matrimonial Home Rights?

Matrimonial home rights mean that both you and your spouse or civil partner have a legal right to live in the family home free from forced removal, regardless of whose name the property is in. These rights are protected under the Family Law Act 1996 in the United Kingdom. They apply whether the property is owned outright, mortgaged, rented, or provided by the local authority.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Equal Right to Stay: Matrimonial home rights grant both spouses equal right to stay in the matrimonial home. However, they do not give ownership rights to the non-owning spouse.
  2. Protection During Divorce or Separation: These rights protect your interests, your spouse’s interests, and your families during a divorce or separation.
  3. Preventing Homelessness: They prevent the sale of the property or any other actions that might leave the non-owning spouse and any children homeless.
  4. Legal Right to Live in the Family Home: Both parties have the legal right to live in the family home, regardless of ownership, unless a court order says otherwise.

When Do Home Rights Not Apply?

If you are not married or in a civil partnership but are cohabiting, you do not have matrimonial home rights. However, you still have options when it comes to your rights in the face of a relationship breakdown.

 What Is a Home Rights Notice?

Home Rights Notice is a formal notification filed with the Land Registry to protect your interest in the family home. Even if the property is solely in your spouse’s name, filing this notice prevents them from selling the house or trying to evict you. If you have home rights to your spouse’s property, you cannot be legally forced out of the family home, and your ex-partner cannot sell or remortgage the property without your consent.

Protecting Your Property

The simplest way to protect your rights to the family home is to place a home rights notice on the family home title at the Land Registry. The application to the Land Registry is free.  The effect of the notice is to alert any potential buyer or lender that you have rights to the property.

Remember, understanding your rights and taking proactive steps can provide security and peace of mind during a challenging time. If you’re facing separation or divorce, consult with a legal professional to ensure you fully understand your rights and options.

If you would like advice on matrimonial homes rights, please contact Tayo Taylor at or on 020 3667 4783

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