Connotations of the word ‘divorce’ are rarely, if ever pleasant. Subliminally, it conjures thoughts of separation and disassociation, implying the dissolution of what was once a happy, healthy and loving relationship.
Considering the certain awkwardness and potential bitterness that divorce can create, the necessary act of dividing wealth can be an extremely difficult, contentious procedure and, of all the assets that must be divided, the marital home is the most obvious source of conflict.
A home, for the majority of the population, is the largest purchase they will ever make, its importance and stature in everyday life can never be understated - these architectural structures, seemingly ever-present and unremarkable, provide us with our most fundamental requirements.
It is all too easy for your home to become a permanent source of stress when undergoing a divorce. With both parties certain that they have a valid claim to the property – neither individual willing to negotiate as a result – tempers can flair and conflicts can arise; one distraught divorcee going as far as to say: "That cottage may be her pride and joy, but I'd rather go to jail than see her get it,” put simply, what was once your dream home can, when the separation of assets is concerned, can become a cause of immense anxiety.
The sheer pressure this can place on the people involved is immense. It has already been noted that a house is vital to maintaining one’s quality of life and the financial strain of re-arranging mortgage payments can be problematic at the best of times, let alone during a credit crunch.
Unfortunately, these stresses and strains are all part of the separation process. Assets must be divided, allowing all parties to begin a new chapter in their life story. Come the final settlement, you should, ideally, begin the process of preparing for life without your partner and the challenges this will bring, however, many people find it hard to accept that they are no longer welcome in what was once their home.
Arguments post-divorce are never pleasant and, more often that not, most people would want a prolonged period aware from their former partners – time to heal wounds and forget the past – before again communicating with the individual concerned, necessary or otherwise. Despite this, however, the tension brought about by the separation process often drives people to desperation and, as we all know, desperation can drive the most pleasant of people to the most unpleasant of acts.
Having realised that their home is no longer their own, many divorcees decide to take matters into their own hands. Fortunately, the majority of disgruntled individuals will be reluctant to do little more than register mild complaints of inconvenience. Some people, though, will insist upon remaining in the home, leaving the remaining occupant feeling uncomfortable and potentially threatened.
A separated couple living under the same roof is far from an ideal situation and a mist of tension is likely to descend upon the environment, but, with both names on the deed and your partner unwilling to compromise, you may feel like you have nowhere to turn.
This, however, is not the case and, depending on circumstances, you may be able to apply for an 'Occupation Order' which could help with any of the following situations
- Order your abuser to move out of the home or stay away from the home
- Order your abuser to stay a certain distance away from the home
- Order your abuser to stay in certain parts of the home
- Order your abuser to allow you back into the home if he has locked you out.
This injunction, then, can prevent your ex-husband or wife from bringing the inevitable stress, anxiety and general unpleasantness of divorce into your home, allowing it to, once again, become a centre of tranquillity – a place to escape life’s pressures, not to be reminded of them.
Homes are, with the exception of our loved ones, the most important feature of our lives and must be protected. It is unlikely that your former spouse will be willing to merely hand over their house keys without some sort of verbal sparring - and who knows how far they may be willing to go? Unfortunately, whilst you and your former partner will almost certainly have happy memories, sympathy is an ill-afforded luxury. When your home is under threat, action must be taken.