Private residence, court actions available on separation or divorce

Couples may have experienced the difficulties that can arise when couples separate or divorce. One area where they may need to resolve are the options that courts have to direct ownership of the marital home. The courts can exercise their jurisdiction in the following ways.

  • By recognising an existing equitable interest of the spouse or civil partner who does not have legal title to the dwelling house.
  • By ordering the spouse or civil partner owning the home (or an interest in it) to transfer it to the other spouse or civil partner.
  • By ordering the spouse or civil partner owning the home (or an interest in it) to hold it on trust for the other spouse or civil partner for a limited period.
  • By ordering the spouse or civil partner owning the home to sell it and to pay the other spouse or civil partner a capital sum out of the proceeds of sale.
  • By both determining that one of the spouses or civil partners had an equitable interest in the home and ordering the other spouse or other civil partner to transfer some or all of their interest in the home or to pay a capital sum out of their share of the sale proceeds.

Where the marital home is the couple’s main asset the outcome of these deliberations is clearly significant.

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