The Family Home
The family home is a dwelling in which the Married Couple ordinarily reside. The Family Home Protection Act 1976 covers married couples only. The act seeks to provide protection for the non earning spouse. Note; The act does not mean that a husband and wife jointly own the house, both names have to be on the title deeds for this.
Who owns the family home?
Ownership depends on the following;
* The name under which the property is registered and/or
* Who paid for the property.
This is where the house is bought and registered in both spouses names. In the case of separation it is possible to sell the home and divide the sale proceeds. If the house is in husbands name only; it may be his sole property but, if the wife has contributed her own income or earnings from outside the home, she may have gained a beneficial interest in the property.
House owned by Local Authority or other body
Most tenancies are granted jointly these days. Where the tenancy is in one name only, it is possible for the Local Authority to have it changed to joint names if they have a Court order.
Can a husband sell the family home and leave the wife and children without a home?
A husband or wife cannot sell the family home without the written consent of the other spouse regardless of whose name is on the deeds of the house. However, the spouses consent can be dispensed with by the court, if the Court is satisfied that consent is being withheld unreasonably e.g. if the other spouse is willing to provide suitable alternative accommodation for the family.
Suitable Alternative accommodation
This is accommodation of the same standard as the previous family home, if the spouse can afford it.
This term refers to couples who live together as man and wife but are not legally married. The Family Home protection act (1976) does not apply to Co habiting couples. There are two ways in which unmarried couples can purchase a property:
* Joint ownership-as joint owners, you own the whole property between you. If one of you dies, then the other inherits the property subject to tax liability.
* Tenants in common-as tenants in common, you each own distinct shares in the property which you may want to leave to someone in a will.
In the case of separating couples, if you separate and cannot agree about selling the house which you own jointly, you may make an application to court to divide the beneficial interest in the property. If it is in one name only and that person decides to sell, the other partner may have no say in the matter.
Legal Action-is expensive unless you are entitled to civil legal aid. Professional legal advice is recommended on any legal matter.
Local Authority HousingIf a person is in need of emergency or permanent accommodation and cannot afford to provide it him or herself, they should contact the relevant agency below and complete an application form for re-housing.
Application forms are available in your local housing authority. The application must be assessed by your local authority. This may involve an interview. Once assessed and deemed eligible for housing your name goes on the housing list.
A person cannot go on the housing list if she/he is an owner or joint owner of a house. There may be exceptions in cases of Domestic Violence.
If your application has been approved, you should call in regularly to the housing department to discuss your application and its progress.
Elected local Politicians can make representations on your behalf with Local Authority or Health Board.
If you are living in a Local Authority house and you separate from your husband the person who has custody of the child remains in the home. A new housing application will not be considered until they see a separation agreement. There may be exceptions in cases of Domestic Violence