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Matrimonial Home Rights

Matrimonial Home Rights are attained when parties marry. This means that when you get married you obtain the right to live in your home, even if the home you are living in is legally owned by your husband or wife.

Matrimonial home rights do not necessarily make you a legal owner of a property. However, it provides rights such as the rights to live in the family home and not be forced to leave.

Registering your home rights

Although matrimonial home rights are obtained when individuals marry, it is important that you register your home rights in order to provide yourself further protection.

In the absence of your home rights being registered, your spouse could potentially sell or mortgage the property without your knowledge. This could mean that you may be forced to leave the property, as well as limit any claims for finances upon divorce.

Upon registering your home rights, your name will appear on the official copies for the property, which organisations such as the Land Registry, banks and potential buyers for the property will be able to see and will know that you have home rights.

How do I register my matrimonial home rights?

This can be done using Form HR1 and filing the same with the Land Registry. Your solicitor can assist you with completing the form and you should contact them if you are unsure on how to deal with this process.

You will not require your spouses consent to register your home rights. However, they will be informed by the Land Registry upon registration of your application.

When will the home rights end, and can it be cancelled?

Your home rights will come to end when your marriage legally ends i.e. upon receipt of your Final Order for your divorce or, upon the death of either spouse.

Alternatively, your home rights can be cancelled if you or your spouse applies to do so at the Land Registry.

Your spouse can only make an application to cancel your home rights if they are in possession of the Final Order for a divorce, a death certificate, a document signed by you confirming your agreement to your home rights being cancelled or, a court Order.

You can make an application to cancel your home rights at any time and do not have to wait divorce is finalised by way of a Final Order.

What do I do if we own the property in joint names?

If you own your property with your spouse, the first step is to find out how the property is held at Land Registry i.e. do you own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common?

If your property is owned as joint tenants and you are currently going through a divorce you may wish to make an application to sever your tenancy.

What is the difference between joint tenancy and tenants in common?

When couples purchase a home together, they normally do so as joint tenants. This means that they both own the whole property equally, and upon the death of one of them, the property automatically passes to the other. This is known as the right of survivorship, and it takes precedence over a will.

Tenants in common is when both parties own a particular share of the property, and that can be in both equal or unequal shares. Upon the death of either person, their share of the property will pass to whoever may be named as a beneficiary in their will or the rule of intestacy will apply. It is therefore advised that if parties are going through a divorce that they consider severing their tenancy.

How do I sever the tenancy?

This is done by way of an application to the Land Registry. You can of course, do this yourself. However, we recommend that you seek legal advice before making changes to the ownership of your property.

If you require any assistance or advice regarding the above please contact us