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Buying Your Ex Out of the Family Home

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Buying Out Ex-partner Buying Partner Out

When it comes to getting divorced one of the main issues you’ll have to face is where you intend to live. Your options are going to be determined by many things like finance, both partners’ wishes and if there are any children to consider.

If you have a joint mortgage, this may mean applying for another mortgage in your own right which may be possible if you’ve built up sufficient equity in your joint arrangement and earn enough to pay off a new mortgage in your own name after you’ve factored in any equity that you’re entitled to. However, this isn’t always possible. Often, you’ll find that it’s the partner with the greater income who is the one who wishes to be bought out and the partner earning less might simply not be able to afford to stay in the home as they might not be able to meet the repayment of a new sole mortgage agreement on the existing property.

Why Your Equity Might be More Than You Think

When couples split up, it’s often assumed that if they are both contributing the same sum to their monthly mortgage repayments that any sale of the house is split 50-50 if they decide to go their separate ways, but that’s not necessarily the case. If an amicable agreement cannot be made, a good solicitor can often look to raise the equitable value of one partner’s share. For example, it might be that one partner has spent a considerable amount of extra money and time in making home improvements, even though the joint mortgage is split 50-50. Therefore, this additional expenditure could be taken into account in terms of the division in equity if an amicable settlement can’t be reached.

Children

The situation of the fair division of a home’s value can be made more complex if children are involved. If, for example, it’s the wife who is looking to buy out her ex-husband but doesn’t think she’ll be able to afford a mortgage in her own name, she may find that it is possible if the husband agrees that the children should stay in the family home as this can then be used to offset a percentage of child maintenance payments that would be due meaning the husband then gets less of a share of the home’s market value whilst also making it affordable for the wife and children to stay there.

Going to Court if an Agreement Cannot be Reached

If no settlement can be reached on the division of the house, a court may decide that ownership should be transferred from one person to another. However, it cannot transfer liability for the mortgage from one person to another without the lender’s consent. The problem here is that the lender may not be willing to transfer the mortgage if there are any existing arrears or if they believe that the new sole owner will be unable to keep up the repayments on their own so if they refuse to transfer the existing mortgage arrangements, the original owner or joint owners will still have to keep up repayments. Therefore, where a situation is not cut and dried or there are disagreements as to what each partner thinks they are financially entitled to in terms of transferring the home to the other partner, then you need to seek legal advice.

Once an Agreement Has Been Reached

Once a settlement has been reached, however, it’s important to check the deeds to your house. In many cases, they contain a ‘survivorship’ clause which entitles the other partner to a share of the house should one partner die, so you need to make sure that once the property is in a sole partner’s name that you have the other partner removed from the deeds or else they could still make a claim on your estate in the future, even if you have split up. Once again, sound legal advice is very important in this regard.

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I'm divorced from my wife but I want my equity out for the house that she live in with my children . She can't afford to buy me out can IForce to sell the house so I can get My equity out of the house .
Pparker - 21-Jan-18 @ 3:35 PM
davey - Your Question:
My wife moved out of our mortgaged property when the relationship came to an end approximately four years ago. She has paid nothing in to the house in terms of upkeep or mortgage. There is about 40k of equity in the house which she is adamant that when the divorce comes through she is not interested in. She is now saying she wants to be taken off the mortgage now, as opposed to when the divorce comes through in the future. Would this be a good move for me, or is there more in it for her transferring it early (she has a history of lying about finances)?

Our Response:
In this case, you may wish to seek legal advice if you are suspicious of her motives.
DivorceResource - 18-Jan-18 @ 10:12 AM
My wife moved out of our mortgaged property when the relationship came to an end approximately four years ago. She has paid nothing in to the house in terms of upkeep or mortgage. There is about 40k of equity in the house which she is adamant that when the divorce comes through she is not interested in. She is now saying she wants to be taken off the mortgage now, as opposed to when the divorce comes through in the future. Would this be a good move for me, or is there more in it for her transferring it early (she has a history of lying about finances)?
davey - 17-Jan-18 @ 5:01 PM
Priya - Your Question:
I have a house bought almost 2 years ago and now my husband wants to sell the property and divorce and leave the country. I have spent a lot of time renovating the house. I can say that even he has. But he wants to sell while I am emotionally attached and want to keep it. Remortgage and getting in my name is an option I'm guessing with the various options availableHowever he will want his deposit and amount he has put in mortgage for last 2 years. What are my options to get that kind of money? Anyway loan providers will give this to me? I'm looking at something like 50k. That's a lot of money to pay off.

Our Response:
Much depends upon your earnings etc. You may wish to contact your mortgage company directly to see if your salary would cover an extension of the mortgage. If you have children, this may also affect your options. Mediation can also be used in such situations in order to try to sort the matter out between you and your ex mutually.
DivorceResource - 15-Jan-18 @ 12:33 PM
I have a house bought almost 2 years ago and now my husband wants to sell the property and divorce and leave the country. I have spent a lot of time renovating the house. I can say that even he has. But he wants to sell while I am emotionally attached and want to keep it. Remortgage and getting in my name is an option I'm guessing with the various options available However he will want his deposit and amount he has put in mortgage for last 2 years. What are my options to get that kind of money? Anyway loan providers will give this to me? I'm looking at something like 50k. That's a lot of money to pay off.
Priya - 13-Jan-18 @ 6:53 PM
Jonny- Your Question:
I recently split from my girlfriend (not married) and have 2 children 12 and 17 and have a home valued at 400k with no mortgage, the ex has only been on deeds for 2 years because before I had a mortgage in my own name but downsized house to have no mortgage, now homeless and living in hostels the ex girlfriend will not sell and said shes entitled to have house till children 18, this dosent sound right?

Our Response:
If you are joint owners, you and your partner have equal rights to stay in the home. However, if you have children, the primary carer can ask a court to transfer the property into their name. The court will only do this if it decides it is in the best interests of your children and is usually done for a limited period, for example, until your youngest child is 18 years old, please see CAB link here for the full information regarding your rights during separation. You can seek legal advice about taking the matter further. However, please keep in mind that as in all family cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
DivorceResource - 12-Jan-18 @ 10:42 AM
I recently split from my girlfriend (not married) and have 2 children 12 and 17 and have a home valued at 400k with no mortgage, the ex has only been on deeds for 2 years because before i had a mortgage in my own name but downsized house to have no mortgage, now homeless and living in hostels the ex girlfriend will not sell and said shes entitled to have house till children 18, this dosent sound right?
Jonny - 11-Jan-18 @ 3:58 PM
T - Your Question:
My husband left home 6 months ago. He accused me of things I hadn't done which lead to the breakdown of our marriage. After 4 weeks he got a girlfriend, who he is still with. I am living in our house with our child of 10. Now he is in debt he wants us to remorage our house so basically he can borrow £20,000 for him to get ahead. I am not happy to borrow more money as if he dosent pay me anything in the future I could just about manage the current mortgage but he is pressurising me to borrow more money for him. I am thinking of getting the money myself( made up of my savings and family) and getting an agreement to say he will get less from the sale of the house in the end. I am on a low wage. I don't know what to do.

Our Response:
You may wish to contact the mortgage company directly if you own the home jointly and request a refusal of a remortgage, which would subsequently mean higher payments for you. You really need to seek some legal advice regarding this. The Citizens Advice Bureau can help give free advice. Speaking directly to your mortgage company for advice may also help, as they are accustomed to dealing with such issues. Please also see link here, which will explain more. I would not give into any pressure from your ex until you have looked into all options. Mediation may also help you come to a mutual agreement which works best for both of you and your child. If you are the primary carer of your child, you are in the stronger situation, as a court will not force you to leave your home if you are keeping up with the payments. A court can also allow you to remain in the house until your child leaves full-time education without having to buy your ex out or hand over any money. Therefore, it is recommended you take some extra legal advice here.
DivorceResource - 9-Jan-18 @ 12:28 PM
My husband left home 6 months ago. He accused me of things I hadn't done which lead to the breakdown of our marriage. After 4 weeks he got a girlfriend, who he is still with. I am living in our house (worth approx 400,000) with our child of 10 yrs. Now he is in debt he wants us to remorage our house so basically he can borrow £20,000 for him to get ahead. I am not happy to borrow more money (I put in £60,000 cash to but the property before marriage and only have £70,000 left to pay). Because if he dosent pay me anything in the future I could just about manage the current mortgage but he is pressurising me to borrow more money for him. I am thinking of getting the money myself( made up of my savings and family) and getting an agreement to say he will get less from the sale of the house in the end. I am on a low wage. I don't know what to do.
T - 8-Jan-18 @ 8:56 PM
My husband left home 6 months ago. He accused me of things I hadn't done which lead to the breakdown of our marriage. After 4 weeks he got a girlfriend, who he is still with. I am living in our house with our child of 10. Now he is in debt he wants us to remorage our house so basically he can borrow £20,000 for him to get ahead. I am not happy to borrow more money as if he dosent pay me anything in the future I could just about manage the current mortgage but he is pressurising me to borrow more money for him. I am thinking of getting the money myself( made up of my savings and family) and getting an agreement to say he will get less from the sale of the house in the end. I am on a low wage. I don't know what to do.
T - 8-Jan-18 @ 7:12 PM
@Lightbulb - if you are divorced - then it's up to your ex-husband who he leaves 'his' money to in his will :(
CocoN - 8-Jan-18 @ 9:50 AM
Hi, i jave been awarded 50% of family home due to length of marriage but lost residency of my children due to numerous breakdpwns by continued abuse directed only towards me by ex husband. I jave been told that je has left the other 50% in his will to legal guardian , who was my best friend and subsequently had an intimate relationship. Am i able to contest this arrangement as in my will my 50% i jave left to my children. Any advise ? Thankyou
Lightbulb - 7-Jan-18 @ 4:59 PM
Gene - Your Question:
Hi,My wife and I split up mutually two years ago and plan to divorce.The mortgage on our home is in my name, but my wife has payed this for two years whilst I have lived in rented accommodation. During this time I have continued to pay maintenance for our two children aged 3 and 6.There is approximately £30k equity in our home but I cannot access this as my wife cannot get a mortgage on her own.What is usually done in this instance please? I wouldn't want to see my children removed from the family home, but at the same time concerned that I may lose what I have payed into the house should she meet another man and move him in.Thanks in advance

Our Response:
Unless you both agree to sell, nothing can be done currently to free the equity. A court would not remove your wife and children from the house (as a court will always opt for what is in the best interests of the children and that is to have a stable roof over their heads), meaning unless your ex can buy you out then they are likely to remain there unless an alternative plan is agreed, or until they leave full-time education. You could try mediation and try to come to an agreement about the sale and that you would have a rising percentage of the equity share which is in the house at point of sale in the future. You may also wish to seek some professional legal advice in order to explore your options, as a mutual agreement can be made via a solicitor also.
DivorceResource - 5-Jan-18 @ 3:00 PM
Hi, My wife and I split up mutually two years ago and plan to divorce. The mortgage on our home is in my name, but my wife has payed this for two years whilst I have lived in rented accommodation. During this time I have continued to pay maintenance for our two children aged 3 and 6. There is approximately £30k equity in our home but I cannot access this as my wife cannot get a mortgage on her own. What is usually done in this instance please? I wouldn't want to see my children removed from the family home, but at the same time concerned that I may lose what I have payed into the house should she meet another man and move him in. Thanks in advance
Gene - 1-Jan-18 @ 9:51 PM
My ex fled the country over 10 yrs ago, I have no idea where and have placed ads to find him for dissolvement of marriage,,, my concern is that my property I have was mine before I met him, I got from transfer of equity from first marriage .. deeds only in my name but when he conned me into a top up on mortgage his name appeared, I want to remove him and make it legal so he can't lay claim to it,, he never contributed to mortgage or the secured loan ,which I am still paying, if I remortgage with my son, will he be able to stake a claim to money from it after divorce
Mrs s - 18-Dec-17 @ 2:16 PM
gc - Your Question:
Me and my wife are divorcing after she was caught be unfaithful (and still is) our family home is paid for so no mortgage - We rented from council for 15 years for most of the time I was paying rent (she claimed benifits prev and I have always paid since) this helped us get a discount to buy the house which we used her late mothers inheritence to pay the balance so no mortgage (£70k) the house is valued at £140k - When we first moved in a took a loan out for £15k to do the place up and since then I have also total refurbished and dont intend to take the furnitue etc with me as we have two children 16 & 11 so it would'nt be fair- What are my options as I dont want to force her to sell as that again would'nt be fair (although none of this is) but would like enough so I can get a deposit for myself ?? Help please

Our Response:
It is unlikely you would be able to force your wife to sell the property while you have your children (under 18) living there. A court would not force the matter, as it would take the line of deciding what it thinks is in the best interests of your children (which would be stability and consistency). Therefore, much depends upon whether your wife has the money or the option to buy you out of your share (or what you agree to be your share). Mutual agreement is the best way forward, as otherwise if you take it to court any gain would be swallowed up in legal fees. Another option is to agree to sell and divide the equity once your youngest child turns 18. However, this does not solve your immediate needs. Family mediation might be a way to explore things further if and where you cannot agree between yourselves. Unfortunately, this does not answer your question. But there is no one answer to this type of situation, you would have to explore the variables.
DivorceResource - 5-Dec-17 @ 2:29 PM
Me and my wife are divorcing after she was caught be unfaithful (and still is) our family home is paid for so no mortgage - We rented from council for 15 years for most of the time i was paying rent (she claimed benifits prev and i have always paid since) this helped us get a discount to buy the house which we used her late mothers inheritence to pay the balance so no mortgage (£70k) the house is valued at £140k - When we first moved in a took a loan out for £15k to do the place up and since then i have also total refurbished and dont intend to take the furnitue etc with me as we have two children 16 & 11 so it would'nt be fair- What are my options as i dont want to force her to sell as that again would'nt be fair (although none of this is) but would like enough so i can get a deposit for myself ?? Help please
gc - 4-Dec-17 @ 5:01 PM
MrsD - Your Question:
Hello. My husband and I separated after I found out he'd been unfaithful several times. We both moved house for a fresh start but after a while he moved back to the hone we both owned as it didn't work out. For almost a year hes been living there and paying the mortgage himself (although has started paying interest only-very clever). I have the children during the week and he has them on the weekend. He's now talking about remortgaging and buying me out. For the duration of our relationship we both paid the mortgage together (for about a year I paid it solely while he was out of work). What hurts is that he will come out of all this with a house and security for the future so should I expect a decent amount to secure my future?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the value of the house and whether you can afford to buy yourself using the money you get from the settlement (assuming you are currently renting). Of course, when any couple breaks up there is a substantial financial loss on both sides, if both parents are earning. If you are not earning, then you are in a tricker situation regarding getting a mortgage. Really, there is no definitive answer here, it's down to what you both agree is a fair financial split. If there is not an agreement on the financial split, then the only alternative is divorce arbitration or court, and that's when the legal costs begin to eat into any financial gain.
DivorceResource - 4-Dec-17 @ 2:27 PM
Hello. My husband and I separated after I found out he'd been unfaithful several times. We both moved house for a fresh start but after a while he moved back to the hone we both owned as it didn't work out. For almost a yearhes been living there and paying the mortgage himself (although has started paying interest only-very clever). I have the children during the week and he has them on the weekend. He's now talking about remortgaging and buying me out. For the duration of our relationship we both paid the mortgage together (for about a year I paid it solely while he was out of work). What hurts is that he will come out of all this with a house and security for the future so should i expect a decent amount to secure my future?
MrsD - 3-Dec-17 @ 6:58 PM
My husband and I divorced and he is entitled to a percentage of the equity in our house. We are currently having a disagreement, does this mean before or after solicitors and estate fees? It is not made clear in our court agreement
101252 - 30-Nov-17 @ 11:11 AM
Haze9229 - Your Question:
Hi, my parents are looking to divorce after 34 years of marriage, although separated for the last 10 years. They've owned the family home for 27 years but neither parent can afford to buy the other out. My father and I don't want to lose it, and my partner and I would like to buy it to be our family home if possible. My father would help us by using his equity and he and my 14 year old sister (the only dependent child of the marriage) would also live in the home with us. My mother has expressed that she no longer wishes to remain in the family home or to continue caring for my sister, but she can be very volatile and is likely to sabotage that solution if she is able. I'm interested to know whether the above is even an option for us or if we have to accept that the house cannot stay in the family?

Our Response:
If your mother is currently living in the family home with your sister, then she would have priority to remain in the house (if the matter went to court) because your sister is under 18 years of age. However, if you all put it to your mother that you wished to buy her out, then it would really be up to you all to negotiate this between you, including where your sister would reside. Mediation may be the way forward here. Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, contact orders, residence agreements and divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach a decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides. However, if your mother decides to 'sabotage the solution' and refuses to move there is little you can do here - apart from taking the matter to court. In this case, your father and you would be at a disadvantage if you were not currently resident in the family home.
DivorceResource - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi, my parents are looking to divorce after 34 years of marriage, although separated for the last 10 years. They've owned the family home for 27 years but neither parent can afford to buy the other out. My father and I don't want to lose it, and my partner and I would like to buy it to be our family home if possible. My father would help us by using his equity and he and my 14 year old sister (the only dependent child of the marriage) would also live in the home with us. My mother has expressed that she no longer wishes to remain in the family home or to continue caring for my sister, but she can be very volatile and is likely to sabotage that solution if she is able. I'm interested to know whether the above is even an option for us or if we have to accept that the house cannot stay in the family?
Haze9229 - 27-Nov-17 @ 8:35 PM
Me and my ex husband got divorced in 2009 I was forced to leave the marital home with the children and he stayed in the house and is still there to this day . My name is on the mortgage so it’s a joint venture. My ex husband wanted me to stay on the deed because of the children , there is over 50% equatiy value in the property as the mirage is only small outstanding Now . I want to be bought out of the house and my name off the title deed , as I’m wanting to purchase a house myself for my children but because my name is on a mortgage already this is not possible . Would a solicitor be able to help me even though we are divorced already ? Just wanted a little advise before I go ahead and have a large bill
Lordie77 - 25-Nov-17 @ 3:27 PM
My wife and i live together but want to get divorced. I am the sole name on the mortgage and have been for 17 years. I pay all the mortgage and all the utilities and insurances and have done so for the same period. We have two children aged 15 and 16. One of the children wants to come with me. I have offered my wife 50% of the equity and to contribute to my youngest sons upkeep. My wife is refusing to sell the house until the youngest turns 18. Can she do this?
evenmoney - 23-Nov-17 @ 10:28 AM
My husband left me four years ago after 28 years together.He stayed in the marital house and I moved away. The endowment was used earlier in the year to pay off most of the mortgage but I think there was a short fall of £12000. We agreed between us that he would buy me out of the house and agreed how much for.Since then nothing has been done on his part. I didn't want to go through solicitors as I can't afford it but if it's my only option can I get him to pay costs as he hasn't kept to the agreement?
Juju - 23-Nov-17 @ 10:14 AM
Discombobulated - Your Question:
My daughter is divorcing. She, with some help from me, has contributed three quarters towards the deposit on the house and has paid virtually all the repayments herself. Her husband was unfaithful to her both before and after the wedding, which she did not find out until too late. It is his fault. She is now living in the house alone and making all the payments with some help from me. I rent and would be willing to try to buy him out of the mortgage with my savings and go to live with her. I have a few years left when I would hope to be working. If we both worked aggressively to pay back as much of the mortgage as we could over the next couple of years, I would have a small pension after I retire where I could help her with costs. He is expecting 50/50 of the equity on the house, which has increased in value, but this is so unfair that she cannot stomach it. He has been totally intimidating to her over the whole business. Is this a feasible option or is she just better to sell up - I want to do what is best for her.

Our Response:
You don't say how long the marriage has been. But 50/50 on the equity of the house isn't unreasonable if the house has gone up in value since they have both owned it. You would really need to seek legal advice here, to see if your daughter has any options. It's difficult to advise on little information regarding figures and other circumstances which may make a difference i.e whether there are any children involved. However, who the fault of the divorce lies with would not be considered as financially punishable through a court.
DivorceResource - 17-Nov-17 @ 3:27 PM
My daughter is divorcing.She, with some help from me, has contributed three quarters towards the deposit on the house and has paid virtually all the repayments herself.Her husband was unfaithful to her both before and after the wedding, which she did not find out until too late.It is his fault.She is now living in the house alone and making all the payments with some help from me.I rent and would be willing to try to buy him out of the mortgage with my savings and go to live with her.I have a few years left when I would hope to be working.If we both worked aggressively to pay back as much of the mortgage as we could over the next couple of years, I would have a small pension after I retire where I could help her with costs.He is expecting 50/50 of the equity on the house, which has increased in value, but this is so unfair that she cannot stomach it.He has been totally intimidating to her over the whole business.Is this a feasible option or is she just better to sell up - I want to do what is best for her.
Discombobulated - 16-Nov-17 @ 8:58 PM
@Froggy - If the house has been valued at £370K, if you can, you would have to work out between you what each of your share is. After you have calculated this, you'll need to calculate whether you can find enough money to repay your share of the existing joint mortgage, plus the difference left from the equity your ex is entitled to take from the house. You would then have to calculate whether you are likely to get a mortgage for this total amount.
Dan71 - 16-Nov-17 @ 1:49 PM
Soon to divorce with full and final settlement there's still the matter of the marital home. I want to buy my ex out. How do we calculate how much this would cost? The house is worth 370k, the mortgage currently 145k. Any advice would be most welcome.
Froggy - 15-Nov-17 @ 8:35 PM
Wallybazoom - Your Question:
My son and his wife have separated and will be divorcing. My son was in the process of buying his wife out of the family home. The bank has agreed terms and his fixed rate ends in march next year so wont be beneficial to remortgage another fixed rate now as there will be £1600 penalties. Everything has been more or less agreed between them and is amicable. However, as their joint mortgage was with a 'Help to buy' scheme he has now been told that it cant be changed to him soley and they must sell. This is very upsetting for him as it could take ages to sell and in the meantime his wife has the luxury of living there and hes payning half the mortgage and is living with us which isnt fair as he hasnt done anything wrong!! They have a 7 year old child but share the custody between them. Its such an upheaval if neither of them can keep the family home. What does it matter who takes over the mortgage if they are in a position to fullfill the mortgage payments (which my son is)? Selling the property will give them no equity to start afresh.Can anyone shed any light on this or any ideas of solutions?

Our Response:
Much depends on the terms of their contract and what they agreed to when signing the agreement. However, in general cases and according to gov.uk, it says when couples separate: 'The post sales help to buy agent will be able to arrange for a ‘Deed of Release’ which will release your partner from the obligation of having to repay the equity loan. Assuming that your first charge mortgage lender is content for this to take place and that you are able to provide evidence that you can meet your housing costs and still have a reasonable standard of living, permission should be a formality', please see link here.
DivorceResource - 14-Nov-17 @ 3:13 PM
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