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Buying Your Ex Out of the Family Home

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Jul 2017 | 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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Geoffery - Your Question:
Hi My Partners ex husband if threatening to to her to court over the equity in their house after being divorced for over two years now.At the time he was desperate for money and a £20,000 pound buy out of the home was agreed and although at the time the solicitors told him he should not do this deal, he did.The home is now fully in my partners name (which was done through the solicitor) and their is approximately £150,000 equity in the property.He is now threatening to take her to court over this equity as again he has money difficulties and has said he was not of sound mind at the time the deal was done.He has also stopped paying the maintenance of his 2 children under the age of 10 for 4 months now due to the fact he thinks he has money in the property.He should also according to the court papers be having the children at least one night per week , which he has not done since the separation, in fact we think he has had them stay over maybe 8 nights in two years and the occasional pick up from school and out for tea.Myself and my partner are not co-habiting currently.Does he have the right to go to court for this equity?

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you, or via mediation then your ex would be entitled to take the matter to court. You don't say whether they were divorced, but if there was a clean break divorce he would not have any recourse. If there was not a clean break divorce in place, then he would be entitled to challenge this decision. However, taking it to court will cost. Your partner may wish to seek legal advice from the solicitor who drew up the papers.
DivorceResource - 24-Jul-17 @ 3:26 PM
Hi My Partners ex husband if threatening to to her to court over the equity in their house after being divorced for over two years now. At the time he was desperate for money and a £20,000 pound buy out of the home was agreed and although at the time the solicitors told him he should not do this deal, he did. The home is now fully in my partners name (which was done through the solicitor) and their is approximately £150,000 equity in the property. He is now threatening to take her to court over this equity as again he has money difficulties and has said he was not of sound mind at the time the deal was done. He has also stopped paying the maintenance of his 2 children under the age of 10 for 4 months now due to the fact he thinks he has money in the property. He should also according to the court papers be having the children at least one night per week , which he has not done since the separation, in fact we think he has had them stay over maybe 8 nights in two years and the occasional pick up from school and out for tea. Myself and my partner are not co-habiting currently. Does he have the right to go to court for this equity?.
Geoffery - 23-Jul-17 @ 7:24 AM
I have separated from my husband and he is buying me out of our home to continue living there with his own mortgage. We were going to sort the house out like this first and then proceed later down the line with a divorce as per the two year separation route. However he is now saying he wants a divorce now, with the only option for grounds being unreasonable behaviour (which it would have to be me as the petitioner due to the examples of this behaviour). I just want to know at what point during the divorce proceedings would the money from the remortgage be transferred to me or would I need to wait until the end when the divorce is finalised? Thank you
Xhhlaz - 21-Jul-17 @ 10:18 AM
@Karen - A 'clean break order' is an order usually made on divorce, which prevents both parties from making future and further financial claims of any kind in the future. Obtaining a clean break order will mean that both parties to the divorce will have no financial ties once the order is agreed and granted by the courts. But you must obtain this as part of your divorce. Situations change and things may be amicable now, but if you won the lottery, or had a big windfall.......So, it's always best to make this part of any divorce. Regards, Fee.
FionaT - 18-Jul-17 @ 11:33 AM
My husband and I split amicably last April. We have two children under-10 and they live with me 5 days a week usually. We had £120k equity in the house. I was able to borrow enough to take on the mortgage and 'bought him out' earlier this year with a £40k lump sum from the re-mortgage. I would have given him the 50%/£60k if I had been able to borrow it , and was equally happy to sell, split the equity 50/50 and buy a smaller house, but he insisted he wanted the kids to stay in the larger/nicer family home. He earns similar but slightly less than me and has no plans to buy a home. His position on this, 15 months later, is the same, even though I have a new partner, now living with me and the children. Other than the home (now in my name only) we split the joint account at the point of separation and are making no claim on pensions or anything else. All very simple. We have the decree nisi so far (DIY divorce). The financial consent papers seem very complicated and not fit for purpose as we have already agreed and done the financial stuff. Can we just organise a simple legal document (drafted by a solicitor) to simply state we agreed with £40k buy-out, that is done, and neither of us will make any future claim, or do we need to do this through the 'Notice of [intention to proceed with] an application for a financial order'? Thank you.
Karen - 17-Jul-17 @ 4:39 PM
CJT - Your Question:
My civil partner of 18 years (CP for 10) are separated. Two years ago we relocated for a better family life (!) and bought our "forever home". We put a large deposit down and invested £100k to renovate it. Just a year in she left. I am living in the house with our son (I have been primary carer; I now have him 4 days a week). I want to try and buy her out. My mum is downsizing her house and wants to gift me the equivalent of my ex's half of the equity (which coincidentally is the same as the deposit we put down; the house has increased in value a lot). I need to get back into work (I gave up a well paid job to manage the relocation and our child) and obviously need to be able to take over the mortgage. Assuming I can, the issue is this. She wants all the money that was invested in the house e.g her equity stake/ deposit plus the full amount spent on the renovation. She is basing this on the fact we were living in her house before we relocated. We'd lived in it together for 16 years, and I contributed to it but wasn't in the mortgage or deeds. Before it was "our money because we're family"; now we've split it's her money. Trying to keep it amicable for our child but I don't feel she's being fair. She's holding me to something I said when she first left, that if I had the money I would give it to her. What I meant was I'm not an ar@ehole; she's taking me literally. I'm not pursuing her for anything else, even though she earns more than double what I earn. So now she wants her equity stake plus retain a percentage share in the house. Reasonable?

Our Response:
We cannot specify whether her request is reasonable or not. If you both disagree, then you either can take the matter to mediation in order to try to come to an amicable agreement, or the matter would have to go to arbitration or court for the matter to be decided on your behalf. As the primary carer of your child, first and foremost the court will always decide upon what is in the best interests of your child. It will also take into consideration the length of time you have been together when dividing assets. I think in your case it is definitely worth seeking some professional legal advice in order to explore your options and to find out where you stand. You do not have to listen to the demands of your ex, if you think her requests are unfair. However, please keep in mind that both of you should be aware that if you cannot agree and the matter goes to court, then this will cost you both financially. Therefore, coming to a rational agreement, if you can, is always the best course of action.
DivorceResource - 17-Jul-17 @ 12:43 PM
My civil partner of 18 years (CP for 10) are separated. Two years ago we relocated for a better family life (!) and bought our "forever home". We put a large deposit down and invested £100k to renovate it. Just a year in she left. I am living in the house with our son (I have been primary carer; I now have him 4 days a week). I want to try and buy her out. My mum is downsizing her house and wants to gift me the equivalent of my ex's half of the equity (which coincidentally is the same as the deposit we put down; the house has increased in value a lot). I need to get back into work (I gave up a well paid job to manage the relocation and our child) and obviously need to be able to take over the mortgage. Assuming I can, the issue is this. She wants all the money that was invested in the house e.g her equity stake/ deposit plus the full amount spent on the renovation. She is basing this on the fact we were living in her house before we relocated. We'd lived in it together for 16 years, and I contributed to it but wasn't in the mortgage or deeds. Before it was "our money because we're family"; now we've split it's her money. Trying to keep it amicable for our child but I don't feel she's being fair. She's holding me to something I said when she first left, that if I had the money I would give it to her. What I meant was I'm not an ar@ehole;she's taking me literally. I'm not pursuing her for anything else, even though she earns more than double what I earn. So now she wants her equity stake plus retain a percentage share in the house. Reasonable?
CJT - 15-Jul-17 @ 7:42 PM
Need advice on buying my husband out of our marital home,he is entitled to half.
Big girl - 10-Jul-17 @ 5:24 PM
@SMD - if you can't buy him out and you can't come to an agreement between you, it looks like you'll have to sell and split the profits. There are no help to buy schemes.
BBV - 6-Jul-17 @ 11:22 AM
Have been married 26 years, separated 18 months. I moved out of the marital home leaving my husband and 2 grown up children living there.No mortgage on the property.My husband wants me to buy him out but due to low income I am about 40k short of the amount needed.Is there any help to buy scheme or something I can do - he wants all his share asap and will not accept the remainder as a share of the profits when I finally sell the house.
SMD - 4-Jul-17 @ 4:31 PM
Smiffy - Your Question:
I am currently in the process of going to court I live in the matrimonial home with our two children and a new partner my ex wants to sell the home , he currently and hasn't worked for 8 months therefore I recieved £6.89 a week for two children he is living with a new partner in her home which she owns with her ex. We are happy to take over the mortgage and have the home transferred into our names is this possible for us to remortgage for the amount he wants from the house , the mortgage left on the house is 80,000 and the house value is 250,000.

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you earn enough to take on the mortgage yourself. You would have to speak to your mortgage company to see whether you would be eligible to apply. Many separating couples arrange to buy the other out.
DivorceResource - 30-Jun-17 @ 3:45 PM
Claire - Your Question:
I have separated from my husband and we are selling our house. However I am currently looking after our 2 children and wandered if it would be more profitable to buy his share of the property instead of selling and sharing? I earn very little as hes the main money earner. Thank you.

Our Response:
Many couples when they separate decide that one or other will 'buy' the other out. However, you would have to be earning enough to be able to take on your ex's share of the mortgage. Likewise, because you have children, you may be able to come to an arrangement with your ex about staying in the house. You may wish to speak to your ex directly or seek professional legal advice in order to explore your options.
DivorceResource - 30-Jun-17 @ 2:24 PM
I have separated from my husband and we are selling our house. However I am currently looking after our 2 children and wandered if it would be more profitable to buy his share of the property instead of selling and sharing? I earn very little as hes the main money earner. Thank you.
Claire - 29-Jun-17 @ 11:16 PM
Me and my wife of 3 years are separating and looking to get divorced. We own a property purchased under the right to buy and have agreed what we want to do. I'm being brought out and she is staying in the property. Due to clauses in the right to buy she can't actually remortgage to do this until the remaining 2.5years of the right to buy have passed or she raises the funds herself. I have said I'm happy to wait as we have no bad feelings and I don't want to see her losing out as such. I just wondered the reality and if a situation like this can be drawn up by a solicitor? Thanks
Chalks - 27-Jun-17 @ 5:32 PM
@Des Troyer - it's down to whether you don't mind cutting your losses and losing 50-60K for short term gain. See a solicitor, there may be other ways around it that you haven't considered yet. It seems a lot to lose after all this time. I'm the same, stuck between a rock and a hard place because my ex can't afford to buy me out (or says she can't because she wants me to carry on paying the mortage while she gets to live in the house).
ACE - 27-Jun-17 @ 12:02 PM
@Sam67 - i don't know if that be possible as i am told he has no money & that the house was part of a Homebuy scheme when we gave up our council house & bought a 75% stake in a property, there were t's & c's regarding the ownership etc. I'm only a run of the mill guy on working class wages myself earning just over 30k a year, we have a 6mth baby of own & are paying extortionate rent. My share int he property could be worth in the region of 50k-60k. Although my children are my priority i'm not a mug.
Des Troyer - 26-Jun-17 @ 4:30 PM
@Des Troyer - it depends if you want to see your money go down the drain, or whether you wish to hang on in there and wait until your daughter has left full-time education and you may be able to force your ex to sell through the courts. It's worth paying to see a solicitor over this. If her new partner wants his name on the deeds, can't he buy you out?
Sam67 - 26-Jun-17 @ 1:51 PM
I seperated from my wife 10 years ago & have in the last 6 months started divorce proceedings - we have reached the stage of Decree Nisi & now only need to reach an agreement on the family home. She lives there currently with my 15 year old daughter, 20 year old son & her new partner + their 2 year old daughter. I have paid the mortgage in full since we seperated & there is approxiately £135k equity in the property. Due to her low income she says the bank will not loan her the remaining £70k outstanding on the mortgage & has proposed i sign over my share of the property to her new partner for no lump sum ? Opinions please...
Des Troyer - 25-Jun-17 @ 1:38 AM
I am currently in the process of going to court I live in the matrimonial home with our two children and a new partner my ex wants to sell the home , he currently andhasn't worked for 8 months therefore I recieved £6.89 a week for two children he is living with a new partner in her home which she owns with her ex . We are happy to take over the mortgage and have the home transferred into our names is this possible for us to remortgage for the amount he wants from the house , the mortgage left on the house is 80,000 and the house value is 250,000 .
Smiffy - 24-Jun-17 @ 11:50 AM
Hi . . My sister and her husband were having marriage problems . . The family house was solely on husbands name . . The morgage was solely on his name too . . The morgageof 60k was taken out 25 years ago . . It had been defoulted and in areas . . About 45k was still outstanding.. Now to my sisters horror her husband has run away and the morgage account showing 146k outstanding.It appears that he has borrwed more money . . He was on a basic pay and was recieving tax credits to bridge it up . . The bank has not notify my sister and children . . She was not called to bank to sign any papers so husband can borrow more . Previous record was tarnished. His wage earning were not sofficient to support more borrowing . It appears morgage froud.The bank seems at foult. What are my sisters right to family home . What does she need to do . Please help
Javi - 17-Jun-17 @ 10:46 AM
Twiny - Your Question:
My husband and I are separating after 51 years.we have a house in joint name and no mortgage.he won't let me sell it and is never here do l take him to court and. How long will it take. And who pays solicitor bills

Our Response:
You may wish to consider or suggest family arbitration to your husband if you cannot agree. A family arbitrator will assess your finances and other relevant meterial in order to make a decision based on the evidence supplied. The arbitrator will also consider yours and your husband's views in order to come to a binding decision. As a judge in court, the arbitrator’s final decision is a binding ruling, called an 'award'. If your husband will not consider arbitration, then you should consider seeking legal advice about taking the matter to court. You can see more about payment via the link here .
DivorceResource - 16-Jun-17 @ 3:49 PM
Wilks - Your Question:
Hi I've been married for 2 months we want to end our marriage. We are both happy to go 50/50 down the middle. Where do I start please best way to go? With have no children. She currently is living in our home, I'm at mums and we are both paying the same each month bills and mortgage. I would like to keep the house and pay her out.But I if do this before we actually get a divorce can she come back and bite me! Even tho I would of paid her fully what's she would be entitled too. Please someone answer my questions many thanks

Our Response:
You should ensure you have a 'clean break' divorce, which prevents both parties from making future and further financial claims of any kind in the future.
DivorceResource - 13-Jun-17 @ 12:07 PM
Hi I've been married for 2 months we want to end our marriage. We are both happy to go 50/50 down the middle. Where do I start please best way to go? With have no children. She currently is living in our home, I'm at mums and we are both paying the same each month bills and mortgage. I would like to keep the house and pay her out.. But I if do this before we actually get a divorce can she come back and bite me! Even tho I would of paid her fully what's she would be entitled too. Please someone answer my questions many thanks
Wilks - 12-Jun-17 @ 7:25 PM
Forgot to add we do have two dependent children at home
R - 7-Jun-17 @ 2:36 PM
My wife and I are getting divorced after 19 years my wife has not worked for 18 of those years she has not claimed any social security but she is on disability I have paid the mortgage from my earnings for the last 19 years I have also put £40,000 inheritance into the house in the last three years my wife has now thrown me out and he's trying to take all of it what can I do she has already moved all the direct debits including the mortgage into her own bank account we are getting a divorce but she is refusing to have the house as part of the divorce settlement she says we will sort that out later trust me
R - 7-Jun-17 @ 2:31 PM
My husband and I are separating after 51 years .we have a house in joint name and no mortgage.he won't let me sell it and is never here do l take him to court and. How long will it take. And who pays solicitor bills
Twiny - 2-Jun-17 @ 8:05 PM
I'm trying to divorce myhusband. I owned a home prior to us marrying. He moved in with me and this become our family home. We have 2 young children. We separated and ex finally moved out. I have since sold my home and in the proceeds of buying another home for me and the children. I gave him assets of £25k which he was initially happy with, but he has now said he wants a cash payment which he knows I wont be able to buy the other house which is a week away from exchanging. I feel he is still trying to control my life and this is so stressful. My Solicitor dealing with the house purchase has advised not proceeding until a financial settlement can be reached between us. I feel he is just being spiteful now. Has anyone else been in this situation??
FK - 24-May-17 @ 4:48 PM
My ex and her husband are assuming the the mortage on the house she was awarded in our divorce. Do i need legal counsel when i go to settlement?
Greg - 9-May-17 @ 1:04 AM
betty - Your Question:
I am now divorced from my ex, our children are all grown up. I have a mortgage in my sole name on the home we all lived in which I paid for everything including the mortgage. In our settlement it was agreed I had to sell the house to pay her the agreed amount. My circumstances have since changed and I want to keep the house, I am able to pay her off with out selling the house, can I do this? I know she wants me to sell as she does not want me to have the house, I am unable to get another mortgage and I will be left with next to nothing if I sell.

Our Response:
If you can offer your ex the agreed amount, then there is no reason why you should have to sell and instead you can simply buy her out. You could seek legal advice and ask a solicitor to draft a letter outlining your rights and advising her to accept your financial offer instead. If she refuses, you would have to take the matter back to court to request a variation on the original order.
DivorceResource - 8-May-17 @ 2:36 PM
I am now divorced from my ex, our children are all grown up.I have a mortgage in my sole name on the home we all lived in which I paid for everything including the mortgage.In our settlement it was agreed I had to sell the house to pay her the agreed amount.My circumstances have since changed and I want to keep the house, I am able to pay her off with out selling the house, can I do this? I know she wants me to sell as she does not want me to have the house, I am unable to get another mortgage and I will be left with next to nothing if I sell.
betty - 7-May-17 @ 11:23 PM
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