Relationship breakdown

This section offers information to help you solve the housing issues which are likely to arise if you are separating from your husband, wife or partner. Who has a right to stay in the family home? What can you do if your partner moves out? Your rights will differ depending on the kind of relationship you are in, whether you rent or own your home and whose name is on the tenancy agreement or title deeds.

This section on relationship breakdown is designed to help you work out your options and rights as regards the family home. This area of law is very complex, so you may need to get contact Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice, or a solicitor who specialises in family law.

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England
This content applies to Scotland only
Get advice if you're in England

  • Splitting up

    Separating from your partner is never going to be easy. You will find yourself faced with a lot of practical and potentially distressing decisions about your home, finances and your children.

  • The family home

    The family home is where you and your partner live together. It can be rented, or one or both of you may own it. You don't have to have children to have a family home.

  • Tenants' rights

    What to do if you rent with your partner and your relationship ends. Who has what rights and what to do if your partner is trying to make you leave or moves out.

  • Home owners' rights

    What to do if you and/or your partner own your home and your relationship breaks down. Who has rights to stay in the home, selling the home and who is responsible for the mortgage.

  • Living as separate households

    You may find you can't afford to move out of your shared home immediately. If your split has been amicable, you may be able to divide your home between you and live separately.

  • Taking legal action

    If you and your partner cannot resolve your housing issues, you may have to go to court. What you need to do before considering court action, and how you can pay for it.

  • Resolving disputes at court

    How the court can help resolve your housing issues. Court orders are not granted automatically, and the sheriff will need to look at both your situations before making a decision.

  • Financial issues

    Financial issues to consider if you split up from your partner, including housing costs and what happens if you have any debts.

  • Help with housing costs

    If your partner moves out, you may need help to cope with paying the bills, household expenses and rent or mortgage on your own.

  • Moving on

    This page looks at your options if you want or need to leave the family home and move to a new home. It also explains your rights if you find yourself with nowhere to stay.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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