Q: My husband and I were together for nine years. He left me and our two children when the first coronavirus lockdown ended and we have carried on living in the home that was his before I married him.

Since moving into the house I have always worked and contributed to the mortgage and bills. After he left, as well as paying all the bills I continued to pay half the mortgage into his bank account. He agreed to pay the rest and also gives me money for the children.

He is being fair, at the moment, but I am worried what will happen if things in his life change and he wants to sell up. How can I protect my financial stake in the property? A friend suggested I should register a Notice of home rights. Should I do that?

A: Registering a Notice of home rights with HM Land Registry will protect your right to live in the property, and if you think there is a possibility of your husband ‘selling from under your feet’ it might be a good idea. It will not, however, protect your financial stake in the property. In that respect you should seek advice from a solicitor, who can also advise you about reaching a financial settlement if your relationship has irretrievably broken down.

Registering such a Notice of home rights is free but be aware that they will inform your husband that you have made an application.

Under the Family Law Act 1996, a non-owning civil partner or spouse living in a property solely owned by the other partner or spouse has a right of occupation, and therefore a right not to be evicted without an Order from the court. By registering a Notice of home rights, it effectively puts a notice on the property at the land registry that will protect your right to occupy the property and your husband will not be able to sell the property or seek to extend the mortgage without you being notified.

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