The primary consideration governing many financial settlements is that of “needs”. This is a bit of a grey area as there is no legal definition of “need”. However, one of the things directing the route of the financial negotiations will be a consideration of the future housing requirements of both parties and any minor children.

Primary Care of the Children

Housing needs will be determined by looking at a number of factors, but first and foremost, the court will look at who has primary care of the children. If the parties have a true shared care arrangement, then the housing needs of each parent will likely be considered to be equal – in that they both require houses with an equivalent number of bedrooms. The balance tips if one parent has the children significantly more than the other party such that their housing needs will necessarily be assessed at a higher level.

Other factors such as whether one party works from home or runs a business from home may also have a bearing on what that individual’s housing needs are assessed to be. Mortgage raising capacity is also a relevant consideration when considering how housing needs are to be met in conjunction with any equity held in the existing family home or possibly other properties.

Financial Negotiations

Within the context of financial negotiations, whether that be in the court arena or in negotiations via solicitors out of the court, housing needs will need to be evidenced. It is important to be able to demonstrate the requirement for not only the number of bedrooms, but also outside space, parking, proximity to local schools and transport links. Family and friendship support networks can also be argued to be relevant. In some circumstances all these factors will be considered in conjunction with the sort of property the parties owned during the marriage, particularly where the marriage is very long or there are sufficient funds available to meet everyone’s needs. If there are insufficient assets to meet needs, then these requirements will hold less weight.

Housing needs are evidenced by looking at what properties are currently available on the market. Property particulars are put together using online examples and brochures of houses currently for sale. Given the slightly hypothetical nature of the “future housing needs” exercise, a review of the current market is likely to be the best (and only) evidence available. Conversely, an analysis of current property particulars can help to demonstrate that one party’s housing need can only be reasonably met at the current family home.


The property particulars submitted must be accurate and realistic and you should expect the other side to challenge those examples as to suitability. Cases can be won and lost based on sets of property particulars, so it is extremely important that you take legal advice at an early stage when considering the negotiations which surround future housing requirements.


If you have any further enquiries regarding Housing Needs, please feel free to contact our Family Law team and we would be happy to help.