Citizens Advice Bureau: Relationship breakdown


The impact on housing if your relationship breaks down can put pressure on relationships as well as on finances.

At Central and South Sussex CAB we see a rise every January and February in the number of clients needing advice on relationship breakdown. In the last year, we advised on nearly 4,000 problems relating to this issue.

The breakdown of a marriage or partnership has legal and practical implications, as well as emotional. What to do with your home can be one of the most stressful decisions you need to make.

You’ll need to decide who wants to stay in the current home, whether you both want to move out, or even whether you will stay in the same home - just not as a couple. The implications can be different depending on whether you’re married or in a civil partnership, or whether you simply live together, as well as whether you own your home or you rent.

For married couples, a divorce settlement can provide for what will happen to the home, but couples who aren’t married will need to apply for a court order if they can’t come to an agreement.

At the CAB we see many cases where non-married couples buy a house together, with a joint mortgage, and then separate. If one partner leaves and stops paying the mortgage, the remaining partner has to continue to meet the payments.

If they do continue to meet payments, the departing partner can then come across a further problem: mortgage companies are reluctant to remove an ex-partner’s name from the mortgage, as it’s counted as insurance against the default of the remaining partner.

This can cause huge difficulties when applying for another mortgage in the future.

It’s similar for social housing tenants: landlords are reluctant to remove the name of one partner from a joint tenancy, and this can present problems if that partner then wants to apply for another tenancy in the future.

CAB advisers can guide you through the processes.

If you’re going through a relationship breakdown and you’d like to know what your rights are, please drop in to your local CAB (we have Advice Centres in Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and East Grinstead), or call us on 0344 477 1171.

You can also get email advice via