Occupation rent is compensation paid by the spouse who has exclusive possession of the matrimonial home to the other spouse who has left the home voluntarily or has been ordered to leave the matrimonial home by a court.
Occupation rent is not automatic.
The philosophy and the merits of the claim is based on economic logic.
If the spouse who is in the possession of the matrimonial home has low mortgage payments or no mortgage payments at all and the spouse who has left the home needs to pay rent, the logic would be as follows:
• I could be renting out my half of the home and, therefore, you need to pay me rent.
As a general rule, the courts will set off the “rent” against certain expenses connected to the matrimonial home such as the mortgage payments or the property taxes. Therefore, a court may analyse the situation as follows:
One party will pay occupation rent to the other party however, the party who is receiving occupation rent will pay to the spouse who is in the home a percentage of the mortgage and taxes.
As a rule, if there is are substantial mortgage payments, the courts will set-off the competing claims.
At other times, the spouse who has possession of the home will seek a contribution to the expenses for the matrimonial home from the spouse who is not in the home. In such cases, it is fair for a court to award occupation rent to the spouse who is not in the home. It is simply a reverse analysis.
Marc J. Coderre, family lawyer in Orleans, has successfully argued occupation rent for a client who was not in the home and who had voluntarily left the home and where the wife was living in a mortgage-free home while the husband had to find rental accommodations for approximately 20 months following the separation. In that case, the Judge awarded the non-occupying husband $800 per month for 20 months.
Occupation rent needs to be properly raised in pleadings (court documents).
You can contact Marc J. Coderre, family and divorce lawyer based in Orleans and Beacon Hill, for advice.