Affordable housing, along with child maintenance is one of the most significant financial burdens after a divorce. Through this article, we aim to learn in-depth about the options available to find affordable housing after the end of a relationship causing one of the partners to move out of their previously shared house. In addition to a discussion of affordable housing options, we will also explore the circumstances under which individuals can continue sharing a house with their former partner if they can afford to move out or claim benefits if they are on a low income.

How Can You Get Affordable Housing After A Divorce?

You can get affordable housing after a divorce by exploring all possible options including the following:

  • online websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla where rental properties are listed
  • consult a letting agent to find a suitable property
  • check local newspapers for advertisements
  • observe notice boards in shops, libraries or community centres for notices 

If you are on a low income after a divorce, you can search for affordable housing offers by landlords who let out properties on rent for benefits claimants. You can ask your council office for information regarding such offers or look it up on online forums or social media platforms.

In fact, if you are at risk of homelessness, the council can not only help you find affordable housing in the private sector but also help you with the initial deposit to be paid to the private landlord.

Additionally, the council authorities can also provide shelter or council housing if your circumstances make you eligible.

You can also consider the following options:

  • avail a rent deposit, bond or guarantee scheme through your local council to pay your deposit and rent 
  • apply for a discretionary housing payment to pay for housing costs
  • use the Help To Rent database through the charity Crisis that helps single individuals or those at the risk of being homeless with funding for rental payments
  • get an interest-free loan to pay for housing costs especially deposit and rent if you claim benefits

You may also consider creating an advert for affordable housing yourself and posting it on a website such as SpareRoom or social media sites. You will need to mention the details of what you are looking for in a place to rent including the number of rooms, space, type of property and the rent that you can afford.

Sometimes courts of law order the partner with a higher income to provide maintenance payments to the partner on a lower income after a divorce. The amount and terms of these payments are usually mutually agreed upon. You can claim a maintenance order in order to afford housing after a divorce

Can You Claim Benefits After A Divorce?

Yes, if you are on a low income, at risk of homelessness, a single parent or generally faced with financial hardship after a divorce, you can apply for a benefits claim. Some of them include the following:

  • If you have sole responsibility for a child under the age of 16 years, you can claim Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit.
  • Depending on your income and savings, you can claim Housing Benefit if you live in rented accommodation.
  • Parents who work equal to or less than 16 hours per week or are unable to work can claim Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance.
  • If you have a health condition or a disability due to which you cannot work, you can claim Employment and Support Allowance
  • You may qualify for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance. If you receive these benefits for 26 weeks, you can apply for an interest-free loan for basic home expenses.
  • If you are a single parent who is working 16 hours or more per week, you can claim Working Tax Credit.
  • If you are a homeowner claiming Universal Credit, you can apply for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) to help you with mortgage payments.
  • If you are the sole adult in your household, you can claim a 25 per cent discount on your council tax bills.

If you and your partner were jointly claiming benefits as a couple, it is advisable for you to inform Job Centre and HMRC of the change in your relationship status as you may no longer qualify for the same amount. Alternatively, you may now be able to claim certain other state benefits due to your single status.

If there are children involved, the parent with the main care responsibility of the children will be eligible for a Working Tax Credit if they work 16 hours a week.

Can I Live With My Ex-Partner After A Divorce?

Yes, you can continue living in the same house with your ex-partner after a divorce as long as both of you have a mutual agreement on the living conditions. In fact, it is quite common for formerly married couples to continue sharing the marital house until one of them finds affordable housing.

The other common reason for former partners to continue living in the same house after a divorce is sharing a child or children; their responsibilities, emotional well-being, close proximity to school and friends.

If the property that you are living under is under joint ownership, you may need to make a decision regarding sole ownership. Alternatively, if it is in the name of one partner, while the other partner has also contributed to its payment, you may need legal and financial counsel on the matter.

However, you must inform the following of the change in your marital status:

  • landlord or housing office
  • housing benefit office
  • council tax office
  • mortgage lender
  • gas, electricity and telephone companies
  • benefits office
  • tax office
  • your children’s school (if any)
  • bank; in case you have a joint account
  • credit companies
  • insurance companies; if you have joint policies

Conclusion:

The discussion here has covered a lot of areas when it comes to being able to find affordable housing after a divorce and the spectrum of options is quite wide in this regard. From continuing to live in the same house with your former partner (under a mutually agreed and amicable arrangement) until you find an affordable place to sharing a house with someone by taking help from websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla or looking for privately rented properties intended for struggling tenants to applying for council housing; there are varied choices to make depending on ones’ preferences and circumstances.

FAQs: How Can You Get Affordable Housing After A Divorce?

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce settlement in the UK?

Divorce settlements in the UK aim to each an equal split between both parties which makes that wife’s entitlement 50%. 

Can I stay in the marital home after divorce in the UK?

Yes, you can stay in the marital home after a divorce in the UK especially if it is under joint ownership or joint tenancy.

What benefits can I claim after a divorce?

Depending on your circumstances and the possibility of children being involved, you will be able to claim the following benefits after a divorce:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit

Who leaves the house after a divorce?

There is no legal obligation on either party to leave the house in the case of a jointly owned property. However, in the case of sole property, the occupant generally moves out of the premises while the owner stays. 

Can you be separated but still live together?

Legally, there is nothing wrong with living together with a partner after being separated as it is common for former couples to do so for financial reasons or in situations where children are involved.

References:

What benefits can I claim if I’m divorcing or separating? | MoneyHelper

Money and property when you divorce or separate: Maintenance payments – GOV.UK

Divorce Aid: Housing Problems and Benefits

What happens to your home when you separate – Citizens Advice

How to find a privately rented home – Shelter England

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