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matrimonial home

The home in which a husband and wife have lived together. A husband is under a duty to provide his wife and children with a roof over their heads, and the wife is obliged to cohabit with him in that home. Failure by either party to cohabit may amount to *desertion.

When only one of the spouses owns the matrimonial home statute gives the nonowner certain rights of occupation, which may be enforced by court order. These rights will bind third parties (such as banks and building societies) if they are registered as a Class F land charge (in the case of previously unregistered land) or if they are protected by a notice or caution (in the case of registered land) - see *registration of encumbrances. In Scotland similar rights have now been granted (for a limited period only) to unmarried cohabitees, under the Matrimonial Homes (Financial Provision) (Scotland) Act 1981.

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