According to section 24(1) of the Family Law Act, the court may grant exclusive possession of the matrimonial home or part of it to one spouse. The court may also make a decision on the terms of the possession. The criteria to determine whether to make an order of exclusive possession is mentioned under section 24(3) of the Family Law Act.
What does exclusive possession mean?
Married couples, who have an interest in a home which they ordinarily occupy as a family residence, have an equal right of possession of their matrimonial home. Either party can apply to the court for exclusive possession order. Before such order is granted, the court will consider the following criteria:
- Best interest of the children involved
- Any violence committed against the other spouse or children
- Financial situation of both spouses
- Any written agreement between the spouses
- Availability of any other suitable and affordable accomodation
- Any existing court order regarding the family property or support order
The court order will typically state that one spouse is allowed to stay in or returned to in the home while the other party will not go to the property. If children are involved, the court order will also say that the children will stay on the property.
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