Separation is an extremely emotional decision that impacts everyone in the family. The first question most people ask is “Can I stay in the house?”
The last thing you want to do is disrupt the children’s home life at this point. Who knows, after counselling you may decide to get back together. Ideally, the two of you would consider what’s best for everyone and come up with a workable solution. However, this is not always the case.
Other related questions I hear are: “Can I change the locks?” and “Do I have to keep paying the home loan if I leave the house?”
If a court order hasn’t been made, both of you are legally allowed to stay at the home. If your ex is violent toward you, call the police immediately. They can remove your ex if violence is involved.
A court order can also be obtained to remove your ex from the home, particularly if there is a violence involved. Legal advice is recommended before you go to court.
Changing the locks is fine; there is nothing illegal about that, but it is best not to change the locks unless to avoid violence or threatened violence.
If one of you moves out of the home, the person who stays is usually the person who continues to pay for all the outgoings, including the home loan payments. However, there is no hard and fast rule here. It is not uncommon for a court to allow mothers with young children to stay in the home without the ex, with the ex being required to continue to pay the outgoings on the home.
It’s best understand your obligations and ensure that you are doing the best thing for your family. Take the time now to ask a local family law expert to review your circumstances.
If you would like to know more, contact me, Luke Shanahan to provide you with piece of mind.