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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 23699
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I want to know what rights I have living in my partners home

Customer Question

I want to know what rights I have living in my partners home even though we have split up. I have lived here for 7-8 years and we have a six year old daughter. I have contributed to the housefuls bills and enabled home to go to work whilst I looked after our daughter
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: no as I have no idea what my rights are
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: yes I know where the court is but do I have any rights to carry on living here?
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: and am I entitled to any of the increase in equity?
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hi, please can I have some help?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 11 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Is there any agreement as to joint or tenants in common?

and have you also contributed to the upkeep of the property?

where are you and your daughter meant to live if you were to leave?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
There is nothing in writing. And I have been contributing by way of the grocery bills for the whole household, which included his two other children which are not mine, I used to spend my savings on holidays for the whole family and days out. I also pay for our daughters private school fees and all her upkeep. As he says he is paying to do up the property. I believed and trusted him sadly.
He pays a small mortgage as he has a lot of equity in the property. I have stayed at home looking after the little one and so have enabled him to contribute to paying his small mortgage and the utilities. I also pay half the cleaning costs.
I am asking him for £60k out of equity of about £450k to pay for rent/expenses for a year for my daughter and I so I can get on my feet. He has refused and is making me stay here as I have nowhere else to go.
He is demanding that he sleeps in the main bedroom now and I have to sleep downstairs. He is putting a lock in the door and making things difficult for me.
There is also a controlling and emotional abuse history on his part. Two weeks ago there was an incident where he pushed me around and accidentally hurt our daughter. The following week he admitted to pushing me in a Relate meeting. Now he is refusing to go to mediation to sort out some money for me.
I just need to know my options please. Thank you
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
It is his property
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Hi Stuart, are you able to give me an idea sometime today at all? Thank you so much
Expert:  Stuart J replied 11 days ago.

You have a dependent child and therefore you would be able to make an application under part 4 of the Family Law Act to continue to live in the property even if your name is ***** ***** the title deed or mortgage.

You may have a financial interest in the property by virtue of your contributions although indirect contributions such as food et cetera are more difficult to account for unless without those payments, your partner could not afford the house.

Whether you would get GBP60,000 out of the equity would depend on what contributions you have made although as I said earlier, with a dependent child of the relationship, the chance of him getting you out of the property is remote and indeed it could work the other way where he ends up out of his own property if he starts to be awkward.  It would be completely different if you did not have a dependent child of the relationship.

With regard to him pushing you around

A person who believes that they are being bullied or who has been a victim of domestic violence or coercive controlling behaviour, can apply to court for a non-molestation order to prevent the other person coming within 100 m of them and an occupation order for the alleged perpetrator to move out of the house.

Here are the government webpages on exactly this subject.

A range of people can apply to the court: spouses, cohabitants and ex-cohabitants, people living in the same household (but not employees), tenants, lodgers, boarders, and certain relatives such as parents grandparents, in-laws, brothers sisters, and engaged couples.  So basically people who are in a close relationship either physically or family or living together whether that’s in a relationship or just the same house.

There doesn't actually have to be physical violence per se because there can be coercive behaviour for example as you will read in this excellent article: D

If living arrangements are involved, it is very often impractical to live in the same house and it would very often be allied to an occupation order which defines or regulates the rights of occupation of property by the parties involved.

Many landlords will not change the name of the tenancy agreement for example without a Occupation Order.

It always helps if a report was made to the police recently because that is good evidence that this actually happened.  The reason is that to report something to the police which hasn’t happened is a serious offence of wasting police time and/or attempting to pervert the course of justice which potentially carries a short jail sentence.  So the civil court will take more notice if it has been reported to the police.

Having said that, the civil court will normally err on the side of caution and grant the order.  However if the order is applied for based upon fabricated facts and that comes out in the wash, that is also perverting the course of justice and contempt of court and also potentially carries a jail sentence.

It is one of the few areas of law which legal aid is still available in certain circumstances so it is certainly worthwhile contacting the solicitor in the first instance.

As there is usually some urgency with these kind of applications, it can be done on an emergency basis and there is the facility on the form to do that.  An applicant can also attach a Certificate of Urgency (a letter with that heading) explaining why this should be in court on an emergency basis, usually within a day or so.

These applications are usually made “ex parte” which means that the other side doesn’t get notice.  What I mean by that is that they are not told “if you do this again we will make an application to court”.

The first they know about it is when the applicant gets the order and they are given the order.

The effect of the order is exactly the same as a restraining order to restraining order is something applied for by the police/CPS through the magistrates court (or exceptionally the Crown Court) whereas a non-molestation order is through the family/civil court.

Section 1 of the Domestic Violence, Crime & Victims Act 2004 May the breach of a non-molestation order a criminal offence.  It’s serious stuff.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thank you so much for all of this.Is there any way I can put it to him in writing first to pre warn him about the occupation order or is it better just to do it?He has hurt me before and has threatened that he has false photos of evidence where I have hurt him which is not true. I have not done anything before because I am scared of what he might do and try to take my child away from me.I am happy if he stays away from This house for a year so I can get on my feet financially.I am scared of what he might do if I put in this order.Thank you Stuart - I appreciate this.Dymphna
Expert:  Stuart J replied 11 days ago.

My personal view is that I would just do it.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi Stuart.
Thank you
Do you have a link to the form I need to fill in to ensure I have rights to live here with my daughter?
I had to call the police last night as things escalated as he was verbally abusing me and being awkward. They said that he can ask me to leave because he owns the property. I would need this occupational order. And on an emergency basis. Thank you
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Have spoken to the court and am going to submit the paperwork today ex parte.
A couple of questions -When I receive it if it’s granted how do I serve it upon him - I don’t have a solicitor and so need to do it myself or the bailiffs?
Will that mean he cannot change locks or call police to evict me?
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 10 days ago.

Because of the domestic violence, you may be eligible for legal aid for everything so it would be worthwhile speaking to a solicitor.

It would normally get served by the court

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hello, I was wondering if I can ask you some more questions? Thank you
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Further to this I applied for an Occupational order And I received one in my favour with a hearing set for next Tuesday 15th June.May I ask are there any grounds where my ex partner may get away with having this order overturned?I have not applied for an anti molestation order and did not mention anything about the domestic abuse as to be honest I am just content to have a place to live for my daughter and I.I wrote a statement which was very level headed and said that I wished for us to all live her peacefully. And also so that when he has contact with his two other children they can come here.If the Court agrees I wish to add some further points which I did mention in the statement but a few things have happened since then and so I wanted to ask if this is reasonable and would I put this in a statement prior to the hearing1. That he can keep the main bedroom if I can keep the office as an office. Currently it is empty as he emptied all my things into the living room. So I am working from the sofa which is totally impractical.2. He can keep the main bedroom (as he is so insistent and I think that is where I can compromise so I can keep the office) and I can sleep on an air bed in my daughters room.
This also has the bed of my step daughter so when they come here I can sleep somewhere else in the house). I am happy to do this.3. On Saturday his parents came over and he did not tell me and they had a bbq. Given the situation I felt trapped and I had to ask him if I could come downstairs to get something to eat. They stayed until 10pm watching tv loudly in the living room which I could here in the upstairs bedroom. They had no intention of me joining them and he has only seen them the day before so I feel that he invites them over to intimidate me. I have also found out he is using dating apps and I am worried that he might bring dates here. Can I ask that during this time we do not have visitors to the home? Unless agree by both parties?Am I expected to provide a statement prior to the hearing?Do I send that statement to him or ask the Court to do it?It also says in the Order that
“The applicant must file a certificate of service or reasons for non service of this order not less than 48 hours before the hearing”
I am not sure what I need to do?Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 days ago.

In my opinion, the domestic abuse was really relevant and it should have been included but if you haven’t done it, you can raise it on the day although it may get dismissed.

You can agree what you like between you, it depends whether he is happy with that or whether he wants to argue.

Whatever documents the court has ordered you to serve on the other side, you need to send a letter confirming that they have been served.  That is the certificate of service.  It’s just a letter.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank youI have mentioned that he pushed me and that was why I ended the relationship.
I kept the statement nice and friendly without too much blame on him as I thought it would read better.
I haven’t been ordered to do a statement but am wondering if I can anyway prior to next week. I can then set out exactly what I am asking for. If I leave it until the day will it not get forgotten?
And do you think it is reasonable for me to ask what I am asking for or am I pushing it?
Is there any loophole which he may use as well?
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 days ago.

If you leave it until the day, the judge could well just ignore it although to be frank even now is really last minute.

Having a six year old of the relationship live with you certainly works in your favour.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Ok so it is perfectly acceptable to send another statement prior to next week.
I can weave in the domestic abuse.
Abs I can lay out exactly what I am asking for.
Are you able to answer more fully the questions I asked above or is that more than you are supposed to do? Sorry to ask except this is the only advice I can take.
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 days ago.

Let me put it this way, it cannot do any harm.

I’m happy to answer specific questions that you have.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you.So if I submit a statement - can do this Friday in time for a Tuesday hearing?
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Are there any loopholes that he can possibly find to get this overturned?
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Is it reasonable to ask if I can keep the office as an office as a workspace if I agree to him having the main bedroom?
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
He is on dating apps and invites his parents over here for a bbq I feel to intimidate me - can I request that we have no visitors during this transition time?
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
You mentioned before that if he was awkward that I couldn’t actually get him to leave - is that realistic?
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 days ago.

Get it done as soon as you can.

He could argue that the house is too big or that you have 50-50 residence of the children and therefore he has as much right to the house or the money from it as you do and hence, it should be sold.

You can agree what you like between you with regard to who uses what.

It’s unlikely that you could ban visitors but you can make a request that the court orders his visitors to play nicely.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
We aren’t married which was the whole issue - will that change any of your answers above? Thank you
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
I thought the Court could
Decide who sleeps where, which rooms are used etc? Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 5 days ago.

On a literal interpretation, the court can make any order it likes if the judge thinks it’s appropriate.

It is having the child which works in your favour, because not being married is the opposite.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Good morning Stuart.
Hope all is well with you.
I have just renewed this subscription for another month so I am hoping you can help me with my questions ahead of next week’s hearing for which I am grateful.
With regards ***** ***** certificate of service which I would like to submit to the Court today - you say it is simply a letter. I have looked online and the examples seem really complex.
Can you advise the wording I use please? Thank you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Also can you advise, as I am representing myself, the format of the hearing
Ie will I be speaking first, then my ex partner, the me again? And how should I assess the judge.
Do you have any tips to help me?
Thank you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
The statement in the order says ...“ the applicant must file a certificate of service or reasons for non service of this order not less than 48 hours before this hearing”I am not sure what that means ? Please can you help me.
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

You can actually use this government form:

it’s straightforward enough.

If you don’t serve the certificate of service, you have to say why.

The format of the hearing is as you have described.  You call the judge Sir or ma’am depending on whether gentleman or lady.  Not your worship (magistrates) and not Your Honour (Crown Court).

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you - and who do I serve this certificate upon - just back to the Court? Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

A copy to the court and a copy to the other side.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Ok - even though the Court has not said to serve anything on the other side? Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

The court has not said don’t serve it on the other side.

As a general rule, apart from routine correspondence, anything that you serve on the court you serve on the other side and vice versa.

You want the other side to know that you have complied with the order and hence I would send a copy with a covering letter “here with Certificate of Service we have today filed with the court”.  By not doing it, all you are doing is saving five minutes and a stamp and if for any reason the court copy gets lost, you have proof that you did send it because you’ve also sent a copy to the other side.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Ok great - was going to do it via email?
Thank you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
It is saying in this form what documents did I serve. But I have not served any documents. Does it mean I must email the Order? In the Court Order it says the Order would be served upon the respondent via Court Bailiffs ?
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

If you send it by email, also also pop a copy in the post.

I haven’t seen the order so don’t know what it’s referring to but you have to serve a certificate in respect of

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
This is the Order - sorry to keep asking you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
It did say on the application form I was not to serve the order upon the respondent so I don’t want to get into trouble by doing something I am not supposed to.
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

Thank you.  That’s really useful and changes my answer.  I wish I had seen it before.

They have actually given you the Statement of Service form they need which is a different form, FL 415.

you need to add a statement of truth on the document and the wording of the statement of truth is at the bottom of the Order.

There is no room in the form for a Statement of Truth and therefore you need to either attach it on a separate piece of paper or put a line through the section above the signature and head it Statement of Truth and put the wording from the bottom of the Order.

It is the application that you have made to the court which you have to serve on the mortgage lender.

I would also serve a copy of the order.

I cannot see where it says that you must not serve a copy on the Respondent.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Ah. - I think the Court has mixed things up then. As I don’t have the mortgage. This must be what David needs to do.
I don’t even know who the mortgage provider is.
So this certificate of Service has to go to the mortgage provider basically. The court have said applicant when they actually meant respondent.
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 4 days ago.

I think you are probably right.  Kind regards

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
David and his parents have been talking to me. It’s heated but we may find a solution between ourselves - can I ask to move the Court date to a week later to see if we can work this out between ourselves ?
Thank you
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 days ago.

You can both ask for the court date to be adjourned if you explain to the court that this is required for you to try to come to an amicable solution without involvement of the court.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Morning, do we need to fill out a special form.
Can I ask for it?
Or does he have to as well?
Will an email be sufficient?
Thank you
Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Yesterday his parents and he sat down with me. He said his Solicitor has prepared for the Court date and basically done a character assassination on me. David is claiming to have a photo of me having bitten him which is not true. He said the statement his solicitor is preparing is really really bad. So he is offering money for me to go. I said £60k - 2 years for Inès and I to live. He is offering me £6k which he claims is 6 months rent. I will not be able to leave with that. I am happy to start negotiating but now I am really scared it will go to Court and they will believe his story and I may lose my child.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 3 days ago.

Because this thread is now over a week old, I no longer get notification when you have replied so I could be delayed a day or several days getting back to you.

A simple letter would suffice from each of you although if you wanted to make a formal application, you could both fill in the same court form D11 if the court wanted a formal application.

It’s far better of you both do it.

If you are sending an email, follow it up in writing.

It’s unlikely you are going to lose the child unless there is some compelling reason which puts the child at risk which you haven’t mentioned.