When a relationship breaks down, one of the first dilemmas is who will stay in the family home. Do you go or do you stay? What happens if you both want to stay put? Who continues to live in the family home becomes a very sensitive and pertinent question. It’s not surprising because the family home is one of the most significant assets for most Australians. However, it should be something that you try to resolve as soon as you possibly can. Why? Because, put simply, living together under the same roof in a toxic atmosphere is damaging for you both, not to mention the children.
Who will remain at the home? Who will move out? Naturally, both sides may nominate themselves or the other party. If you want to try and find a resolution to this issue, you need to think outside the box, and find a smart resolution, and fast.
Think Temporary and Long term
The best place to start is with some form of conversation, together. Start with open communication between yourselves. Consider using a mediator to provide the environment and process for resolution of just this issue. Maybe, someone just needs some space for a little while. You may want to formulate a temporary plan to keep the peace, just for now. For example, some can manage to stay under the one roof until a more permanent solution is found, or maybe one party has family or friends they can stay with until a long term resolution has been agreed on. You may both decide to rent it out and both move somewhere new. There are so many different options available.
If you cannot do that, though, then you need to look at other ways of finding a final solution. Arbitration allows the Arbitrator to make a decision that is binding and final about the living arrangements for your family.
Here are some things to consider about the possible living arrangements and how they can be resolved:
* Is violence an issue? Do you need to get a Domestic Violence order in place? A solution that would prevent the other party from being able to step foot in the marital home.
* What are your financial means? For example, what options do you have? How can you afford it?
* What are the options for your spouse? For example, do they have the financial means to find alternative accommodation? Do they have ‘liquid funds’ and also have full-time, safe employment?
* Where do the children go to school? What is the best outcome for them?
* You could fight in court for sole use and occupancy, forcing the other party to find another home – see a lawyer.
Who gets sole use and occupation of the family home isn’t an easy decision. Don’t fight within yourselves, or wait for a court to decide, let an Arbitrator help make the independent decision for you. This is one decision you don’t need to carry!