When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Living as separate households

If you can't afford to move out of your shared home immediately, you may be able to live in the property as separate households.  If you can't do this amicably but the living situation is temporary , you may be able to apply for certain court orders to regulate the way you and your partner use the property.

Where the split has been fairly amicable and you're still able to talk to each other, try to set up a living arrangement that you can both deal with until you're in a position to move on. 

Strengthen your rights

You may not have any right to stay on in the property unless

  • you're a co-owner of the property
  • you're named on the tenancy agreement or
  • you're married or in a civil partnership

If you have no formal right to remain in the home, but you've agreed to live together until your financial situation improves, speak to a solicitor to see if you can draw up a formal contract allowing you certain rights to remain. 

Unable to cooperate

Married partners or registered civil partners have a right to live in the family home until the partnership is dissolved.  If you don't have a formal partnership and your ex doesn't want you to continue living in the home, you may not have any rights to stay there.  Mediation may be able to help you resolve your differences while you sort out your long term housing options

Separate your finances

Financial issues when you split up can get very complicated. If you and your partner have any joint bank accounts or savings, you will probably want to close them and open separate accounts. If you're afraid your partner will empty an account before you can close it, you can ask the bank to freeze it so neither of you can take any money out. Discuss what you should do about any joint insurance or endowment policies you have. 

Contact the benefits agency

If you are claiming benefits, you should let the relevant benefits agency know your change of circumstances as soon as possible. If you and your partner are no longer a couple, you may be entitled to more money, but it may be difficult to prove that you have split up if you are still both living at the same address.

Set down ground rules

If the arrangement is to be a success, it's important that you lay down certain ground rules, in particular about guests and new partners.  You'll also need to decide how you'll divide up the expenses and responsibilities of running the household. It's probably best to put this in writing, to avoid arguments in the future.