How to split the house in divorce

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What happens to the house in a divorce?

If you are getting divorced, dissolving a civil partnership, or separating it can be an extremely stressful time. One of the most difficult decisions is what will happen to the family home.

What happens to your home will need to be decided by you and your ex-partner. We understand that during a divorce reaching an agreement on the property can be difficult, with dependent children adding an extra layer of complexity. There are a variety of different outcomes that can occur. If you and your ex-partner cannot reach a solution, then solicitors can step in to make tackling assets easier and facilitate a fair settlement. The welfare of any children under 18 will be paramount in any agreements.

This guide will help you understand the different options available if you jointly own a home with a spouse or partner you are divorcing.

Understanding joint mortgage separation rights

If you and your partner have a joint mortgage you both own a share of the property. This means you both have the right to remain in the property despite the divorce. You also both have an obligation to pay the mortgage even if one of you decides to move out.

Understandably, living in a property with a person you are separating from isn’t feasible in the majority of circumstances. Things may become complicated if:

  • You both want to stay in the family home
  • One of you leaves and doesn’t pay their share of the mortgage
  • You want to stay in the family home but cannot afford the mortgage alone

Mediation, which you can discuss with your solicitor, can help iron out any issues that arise relating to the property. Going to court comes with extra financial pressure and will delay the divorce. Legally you both have rights to the property and sometimes it is best to let a legal professional deal with the negotiation process with your ex for you.

Can I sell my house before divorce?

If you and your ex agree that selling the family home is the best solution, then this can take place before divorce proceedings. It is especially important that you have, in writing, the agreement that you have both come to regarding how the money from the house sale will be split. In an ideal world these decisions can be decided without legal help and selling up before the divorce is fine.

You cannot sell the house if it is jointly owned. If you both have legal rights to the property (and you don’t need to be married for this to be the case) then you will need to reach a settlement with your ex. Neither you nor your ex-partner can sell the family home if it is jointly owned.

Can my ex-partner force a house sale?

If you and your ex jointly own the family home they cannot legally force you to sell. All your assets, including your home, are matrimonial assets and will be split based on the divorce settlement. The only way an ex can force a sale is if they choose to buy you out. However, this is a course of action that you would have to agree upon and you are within your rights to decline.

Even if you don’t jointly own the property your ex cannot force a sale. Even if the home is in their name and you don’t pay the mortgage you still have rights. Home rights mean that neither spouse can be forced to leave the matrimonial home unless there is a domestic violence case or court order.

Can I keep my house in a divorce?

If you and your ex agree that you can stay in the family home then you can avoid the courts and your solicitor will finalise the agreement. Your ex-partner may want you to buy them out and, if you have the cash available, this is a solution. However, if this is not feasible, the case will likely need to be dealt with in court.

A judge will typically allow you to remain in the family home if you have children under 18. Which partner remains will depend on the court ruling if a decision cannot be made between you both. Alternatively, the court may decide that the best course of action is to sell the family home and split the money between you and your ex.

Selling house after divorce

If you and your partner have agreed to sell the family home, or if it was determined by the courts, you will need to consider:

  • How much is the property worth?
  • Do you need to sell within a specific timeframe?
  • What are your post-sale plans?

In the UK it can take over 10 viewings for a property to sell and over 16 weeks to complete, on average. Whilst divorce proceedings have likely taken up much of your precious time and you are keen to avoid any further stress, there is a simple way to sell the family home.

As a cash house buying company, we can help you achieve a fast house sale by buying your property directly from you. We understand how upsetting and draining a divorce is, which is why our inhouse experts want to provide you with an easy and completely free sale. We have the funds available to buy your home now, meaning you get a chain-free sale and we will cover your legal fees too.

We can buy your home in a timeframe that suits you and it all starts with a cash offer from us. Alternatively, call us on 0800 368 8952 to talk to one of our property experts about your current circumstances and we will be able to help.


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