Options for your home after separation

What you can do if your ex’s partner is living in your former home

When your relationship ends, one of the hardest things to deal with is seeing your partner move on to a new relationship, especially if they are still living in what was your house.

But while their personal life is of course out of your hands, you still have some say over what happens to your previously shared home.

How to approach disagreements over shared property

You cannot prevent your ex-partner from moving on with their life after a marriage separation. You do have a say, however, in what is done with your jointly owned home.

So if you and your ex-partner disagree about what happens to shared property, there are legal steps you can take until you reach an agreement.

Your first step should be to discuss the issue between yourselves. It may be that you are able to come to a resolution together without legal intervention, in which case you will avoid the financial and emotional expense of court proceedings.

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Seek help from an experienced family lawyer

If you are unable to reach an agreement, you should seek legal advice by talking to a lawyer who can advise you on your specific circumstances. McCarthy Durie Lawyers can discuss this process with you, and help you decide if it is the best option for you.

Before applying to a court there are what’s called ‘pre-action procedures’ involving mediation to help you and your partner try to resolve any issues between you. Naturally if you and your partner have children, you should consider their wellbeing in all these decisions. The strain of legal proceedings will affect them as well as you.

Make a legal agreement before separation

The best way to avoid property disputes with your ex-partner, and to have control over what happens to your house, is to make an agreement before you separate.

We understand that it can be uncomfortable to talk about the end of a relationship when it is still happy and stable. But by having this discussion beforehand, agreeing on what you want, and making legal arrangements by way of cohabitation agreement, you can ensure things work out in the event of a breakup.

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If you are entering into a marriage or a de facto relationship, you and your partner can sign a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA), more commonly known as a cohabitation agreement or pre-nuptial agreement.

You and your partner will make a list of all your assets and agree on what happens with them if you separate. With these agreements in place and protected by the law, these decisions will not have to be fought over if your relationship ends in the future.

McCarthy Durie Lawyers can assist you to draft a cohabitation agreement and talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement’s effect on you.

If you would like to talk about your options, either before, during or after a relationship, please call the Family Law team at McCarthy Durie Lawyers on 07 3370 5100 or fill out the contact form here.