Cohabiting owner occupiers
This section looks at the different ways of dividing property available to couples if their relationship ends. In particular it looks at the family home. The law in this area applies to both same sex and opposite sex cohabitees.
A number of different pieces of legislation will possibly need to be considered when a relationship has ended.
The rights that a cohabiting couple have in relation to their home will often depend upon whether the property can be defined as a family home.
Rights to occupy the home are dependant on whether the home is solely or jointly owned.
If there is a sole homeowner, and the court grants occupancy rights to the non-entitled partner, s/he can take steps in order to secure or protect her/his occupancy rights in the family home.
Either partner can apply to the court for an order regulating or restricting the occupancy rights of their partner.
A joint owner or a partner with occupancy rights granted by the court can only be lawfully excluded from a family home by an exclusion order.
A domestic interdict is a court order that can be used to prohibit the non-applicant partner from certain conduct towards the applicant partner and any children of the family.
There are different obligations in relation to the expenses arising as a result of owning a home.
The sale or disposal of the family home depends on whether the home is jointly or solely owned.
The parties will usually want to resolve occupation of the home once it is clear that the relationship has definitely ended.
Last updated: 29 December 2014