Moving during a divorce or breakup is a painful experience, but can be made easier by following certain guidelines.

Moving During a Divorce or Breakup

Written by Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
17th December 2015 (Last updated on Tuesday 16th January 2018)

Whether you're cohabiting, married, or in a civil partnership, moving during a divorce or breakup is a painful experience and never easy, no matter how amicable.

Although moving out of a home you once shared with a loved one is a painful process, try to remember that it's a chance for a new beginning and new opportunities.

Be Civil


Whether or not you are married, relationships don't always end amicably, so if you are feeling angry and betrayed, it's understandable. Breaking up is hard enough as it is, but going through it and fighting about what each of you feels entitled to will make you feel so much worse.

Try to remain as calm and respectful as possible, so then the process can move quickly, and you can avoid unnecessary fights over furniture out of spite.

When Children are Involved

The Children Act 1989 can be used by a court to ensure children are housed by transferring the house to the parent looking after them. Once the child is 18, ownership will then revert back to the partner who owns the bigger share of the house.

For fathers not married to their child's mother, there will be no automatic parental responsibility if the child was born prior to 1st December 2003.

If this is the case, you will not need to be consulted over medical decisions, or whether you’ll be carer in event of the mother’s death. You’ll need to work something out with the mother or file for a court order.

Fathers who feature on the birth certificate after 1st December 2003 get automatic parental responsibility.

Make a Clean Break


If you are the one moving out, try and do so as quickly as possible, so you don't prolong the process. Even if you haven't found somewhere permanent to stay, see if you can stay with family or friends for a few days, and put your possessions in storage.

When you need to collect your things, try and do so when your partner is out of the house. Having them around when you are packing up and leaving is just going to make it harder.

If you have no choice but to live together after you have broken up, although it's going to be difficult, try and keep as much distance as possible by staying at friend's houses and taking part in activities outside the house.

Being in close proximity to each other can lead to arguments which will make you feel worse, or even confuse your feelings and convince you to reconcile when you know you shouldn't.

At the same time, if your partner is the one to leave, show him or her the same politeness you would expect by giving them the space to pack their things without you there.

Set a Moving Date


Having a time frame that you need to plan around will keep your mind busy and hopefully help you deal with the reality of the situation. It will force you to get things done, rather than drag them out over time. Knowing that you need to pack your possessions for a certain time might also help you deal with the physical separation, as well as the emotional one.

Get Some Support


Your friends and family are extremely important during a breakup. A separation can often feel like you are losing a significant other and a best friend at the same time; spending more time with friends and family will help you feel better and put you in a better frame of mind.

What to do with the house, furniture, cars.


If you have bought a home together, seek advice from a solicitor so as to establish the ownership rights.

Whether you're renting or paying a mortgage, moving during a divorce or a breakup can make deciding what to do with the house difficult.

If you can't agree on how to split your assets, it is useful to know what you are legally entitled to. Usually, whoever bought the item owns it. If you bought something between you and one person paid more than the other, then it would be divided in that way, with one buying the other out.

Start by deciding where both of you are going to live – is one of you staying? Are you both moving somewhere else?

A fair way to decide who gets the car would be seeing who has easier access, or needs it the most, in instances like traveling to work.

If you have to decide on splitting furniture, try to be fair. Will both of you need to furnish new properties?

Equally, if both of you feel you are entitled to keeping the same things, try and reach a compromise by each keeping something necessary: If one of you gets the car, the other can take some of the furniture.

If you truly can't come to an agreement, the best bet would be to sell the items you both want and split the money.

Are you Moving During a Divorce or Breakup?

Overall, there are no winners in a breakup. It's not about who leaves with the most stuff, but rather a fair and civil separation which will allow you both to move on.

To avoid fights over finances and who gets what, whether you are married or not, you should know what your rights are. Moving in with someone is a huge milestone in anyone's life, so if you are serious enough to do that, you should definitely consider the possibility that it might not work out, and plan ahead by consulting solicitors and getting advice about what you are legally entitled to.

You should be aware that if you have been living together but aren't married, you have relatively few legal rights in the event of a separation, compared to married couples or civil partnerships, so getting legal advice is extremely necessary.

If you are going through the process of moving out, hiring a removal company will make the move quick and efficient so you don't need to drag out the process and you can begin starting over.

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