The Matrimonial Home is established where both parties by their common accord determine in accordance with the needs of both spouses and the overriding interest of the family itself (Article 3A, Civil Code). Preceding 1994 the husband would choose where the matrimonial home would be established however this patriarchal provision of the law has been abolished, together with other similar provisions.
Pending Court proceedings relating to a separation, annulment or divorce one party may demand the Court to determine who is to live in the matrimonial home pending the process of Separation (Article 46, Civil Code).
Article 55A of the civil code provides that upon pronouncing a judgement the Court shall order, if requested, that:
- that any one of the parties lives in the matrimonial home, for the period and conditions which the Court deems proper (possibly with the exclusion of the other party), or
- order the home to be sold, if the Court believes that all spouses and children have an adequate alternative accommodation. The proceeds of the sale will be divided between the parties, or
- if the home belongs to both parties, assign the home to one of them and that such party would compensate the other party for the financial loss suffered
In each and every case the Court shall consider:
- the best interest of the children;
- the welfare of the parties;
- whether parties have or whether their means and abilities permit them to have, another place to reside.
The court may, upon a demand of either party, vary a decision taken in this regard, where there is a substantial change in circumstances.