18 April, 2009


Family Quarters and Marital Breakdown

fustation, breaking pencil

We're separating. How long can I stay in the Family Quarter?
For most individuals, the end of their marriage is a highly stressful time. This can be made worse if your housing is not guaranteed, or if you have to relocate against your will. This is particularly the case if you live in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) as these properties are licensed to the serving person, based on their eligibility, by the Defence Estates Housing (DEH).

All married serving personnel are entitled to request Service Family Accommodation (SFA) for themselves and their families to live in. Part of being allocated a house is the completion of a Licence Agreement for the property. The serving person signs the licence agreement and this legal contract binds only the serving person. As the serving person's eligibility is based on them being married this entitlement changes when a marriage breaks down and the serving person's Marital Category changes.

hour glassThis does not mean the family will be evicted immediately as DEHD will endeavour to ensure you are supported and assisted through your change in circumstances.

There are, however, things that will happen before and after this point. The Navy makes every effort to help couples reconcile their difficulties. Part of this is offering a "Cooling Off Period", where the serving person can live "on board", leaving his or her family in the SFA whilst the couple then decide their future. The "Cooling Off Period" can last up to 3 months, and the serving person pays reduced food charges whilst he or she continues to pay SFA charges.

Should you feel, after the "Cooling Off Period", that there is no room for reconciliation, the Service person should inform the Service of his/her change in Marital Status (Mcat). The DEHD will then issue a 93 Day "Notice to Vacate" to the service person and his/her family (depending on who is living in the quarter).

During this period the Service person continues to pay for the SFA, and pay Single Service food charges until the end of the 93 days. The Service expects the Serving person to spend this period assisting his or her family in finding alternative accommodation. For some people this will mean contacting their local authority to advise them of their change in circumstances and to seek specialist housing advice.

Defence Estates logoOn expiry of the 93 Days the Service person will no longer pay SFA charges, and will have to pay for their Single Service Accommodation in full. At this point the spouse and family, if they do not vacate the SFA, will become Irregular Occupants (IO) and be required to pay "Dilapidation Charges" in place of rent. This will be roughly in line with Local Authority rental charges. You will also receive a visit, or written advice from DEHD explaining how long you will be able to stay in the house and how to find new accommodation. The MOD and DEHD will not leave you, or your children, homeless, and will endeavour to assist you in every way they can. For further information, visit the Defence Estates Website.

website Web site: Defence Housing Executive

website Web site: Defence Estates

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