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Buying Your Ex Out of the Family Home

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 24 Sep 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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[Add a Comment]
@jimmymac - if you apply for a financial consent order through your solicitor it is submitted to the court within the divorce proceedings. Only when the order is apporoved by the judge does it become legally binding.
MattJ - 25-Sep-17 @ 11:03 AM
My wife and I are seperated and have living in seperate parts of the family home for a couple of years relatively amicably. Divorce proceedings are immiment but on hold until she buys me out....The title deeds need to be changed...which is the next step of the process...there is only a small amount of mortgage left to pay and we have agreed on a sum as well as division of possesions. My question is this; is it possible to go to a Solicitor and get a legally binding document that will protect both of us financially WITHOUT me having to apply to the Divorce Courts for a financial settlement? All advice appreciated
jimmymac - 24-Sep-17 @ 12:08 PM
Hi my ex partner is buying me out of my property, her solicitor has sent me the offer over & with negotiation we have a agreed a deal for myself. I have the deal on email from her solicitor. Is this enough evidence in order for me to get paid my buyout fee? I am slightly worried as I am moving out of the house next week in which I have lived in for the past 14 months & paid all mortgage & bills as she hasn't lived there, but feel I won't get my money & have no timescale on when I will get my money. My exs response is you will get your money when the bank finalises my mortgage & when you sign the house over to be... but hi long could this take? Any help would be much appreciated to what I need to do next. Thanks
Nick - 8-Sep-17 @ 9:38 AM
Chrissie - Your Question:
Hi, I am separating from my husband. I think we can be amicable but the house is challenge. Husband is retired and has a bigger pension income than me. He can also buy anywhere in the uk to have a like for like property that we have now. I cannot as I am restricted to stay in the area for work. my son also will have to live with me as he is a t Uni on limited funds so this will affect him too. I addition we have joint ownership from the start of buying the house. We have a 3 bed semi with wooden garage & out building. He can buy similiar as he can shop around in different areas to buy. If I have to move out I ill end up with a flat or at best 2 bedroom small terraced with a yard rather than a garden. I have paid for a lot of he decor and provided financial extras like most of furniture. Would I have more grounds to be able to buy him out?

Our Response:
I think this is something you should negotiate between you, if you can financially afford to take on the mortgage then you can come to a mutual agreement. Only if you cannot agree a fair split would the matter have to go do divorce arbitration or the courts to decide. You may also wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options. Your husband's pension and other savings will be considered to be part of the joint marital pot, whether in joint names or sole.
DivorceResource - 29-Aug-17 @ 2:22 PM
Hi, I am separating from my husband. I think we can be amicable but the house is challenge. Husband is retired and has a bigger pension income than me. He can also buy anywhere in the uk to have a like for like property that we have now. I cannot as I am restricted to stay in the area for work. my son also will have to live with me as he is a t Uni on limited funds so this will affect him too. I addition we have joint ownership from the start of buying the house. We have a 3 bed semi with wooden garage & out building. He can buy similiar as he can shop around in different areas to buy. If I have to move out I ill end up with a flat or at best 2 bedroom small terraced with a yard rather than a garden. I have paid for a lot of he decor and provided financial extras like most of furniture. Would I have more grounds to be able to buy him out?
Chrissie - 27-Aug-17 @ 9:03 PM
Due to an argument involving my grown up daughter and money (she's step daughter to my wife and no living with us) my wife has said she's had enough of me spending hundreds of pounds supporting my daughter and wants me to leave, I refuse and hope we can sort this out. I pay for this out of my expendable sakery (I call pocket money) after paying my contribution to the household bills ie: I pay mortgage, gas/electric and a few other bills & have contrubuted significant to the savings account, my wife pays food and some other bills amounting to a little more than me but not a great deal more, but also had contributed to the savings prior to her buying a £20k car with a bank loan but she pays it. The mortgage is in joint names it's not far from finished and is within £25k, I have no idea how much the contents are worth. Theres is no infidelity (I do love my wife but I'm soft hearted with my daughter and admit I spend too much) but I've promised it will stop, can she force me to leave and could I buy her out and stay. I really don't want this to happen but if it comes to it I need to know I can live, house is worth maybe £85k
Mds - 26-Aug-17 @ 1:01 PM
My daughter n partner bought there first home and moved in Dec 2016.. partner cheated on her n left n emptied the house left my daughter with not much .. Now they have agreed on my daughter keeping the house ..we where just in the early stages ofbuying her tv..sofa. washer etc ..today shes come home n a for sale sign is up . But zhe knew nothing about it. It was agreed from the start my daughter would value house which she as...n partner would..n my daughter would then seek solicitors to pay entitlements n have partners name off the mortgage... can she change locks stop them going in why shes at work as now only my daughters belongings there..n have they a right force her sell
Me - 22-Aug-17 @ 7:16 PM
@Dally - If you can't mutually agree a financial split it would have to go to court. However, if you put in half the value of the property, then you should have half the appreciation in value too. That's a no-brainer.
SamC - 22-Aug-17 @ 3:58 PM
Pablo - Your Question:
My wife told me five weeks ago she wants to separate we have been together for 20 years and married for 12 we own our house without mortgage and have 2 kids she wants to stay in the family home to cause less disruption for the kids the problem is she can't claim single persons tax credits till I move out but this means me taking on a massive mortgage without any assurance of my half of our house equity coming to me all so someone told me I shouldn't move out till we sort out the legality of what's involved or she could keep the house and leave me stuck please help.

Our Response:
In cases such as this where you cannot agree, mediation should be considered. 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, please also be aware that unless a shared-care arrangement of your children is agreed, if you move out you will also be eligible to pay child maintenance based upon your earnings, please see link here. There are very few circumstances where your partner can make you leave your home. They can’t change the locks or force you to leave, so try to take time to figure out what you both want and need. The CAB gives some helpful advice regarding this, please see link here . It is definitely worth trying to come to a mutual agreement before you make any move and discussion is always best. However, in a court of law the children's welfare and what is in their best interests will always be the main priority and usually the primary carer and the children will be awarded the house until the children finish full-time education. In cases such as this, and without having to go to court an agreement can be drawn up through mediation or solicitors regarding the final financial division of the house when the children reach adulthood.
DivorceResource - 21-Aug-17 @ 1:42 PM
My wife told me five weeks ago she wants to separate we have been together for 20 years and married for 12 we own our house without mortgage and have 2 kids she wants to stay in the family home to cause less disruption for the kids the problem is she can't claim single persons tax credits till I move out but this means me taking on a massive mortgage without any assurance of my half of our house equity coming to me all so someone told me I shouldn't move out till we sort out the legality of what's involved or she could keep the house and leave me stuck please help .
Pablo - 20-Aug-17 @ 7:15 AM
When I moved in with my partner I paid him half the value of the property and we had the deeds changed to joint owners. We do not have a mortgage. Things have not gone well and I have decided to leave, however, i need the money I have put into the property so that I can purchase another property and am happy to take my name off the deeds.How can I do this as I'm sure he is going to resist paying me half the value of the house as we have jointly renovated it and it's value will have increased quite a bit.
Dally - 17-Aug-17 @ 7:48 AM
Big girl - Your Question:
I'm just starting my divorce after 20yrs of marriage, the house is in my name but his solicitors have informed me that he is entitled to some of the property. Is this true?

Our Response:
Yes, as the marriage has been long, there is less of a likelihood your house will be considered a pre-marital asset (owned by you prior to and after any marriage breakdown) and will instead be considered part of the joint marital pot. Pre-marital assets usually revert back to the original owner where a marriage is short-lived (i.e up to five years). The longer the marriage, the more the other spouse has a claim.
DivorceResource - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:57 PM
I'm just starting my divorce after 20yrs of marriage, the house is in my name but his solicitors have informed me that he is entitled to some of the property. Is this true?
Big girl - 8-Aug-17 @ 7:01 AM
micky - Your Question:
I have waited out my 5 years seperation. I went to medation 7 minths ago my ex wife did not show up now shes saying she cant afford to pay me out of the family house we build for me to wait 8 years to our child is 18 and I know she will mess about when our child is 18. I have moved on and have another family and children and she has another child and her boyfriend living in the house we once shared. Should going too court take this long as I have waited so many years and also has she got the right for me to wait that long for a pay out as she has also moved on?? It seems to be her way or no way I dont feel as men have any rights when it comes too this matter. Thanks

Our Response:
You would have to apply to court if your ex is refusing. You may wish to seek legal advice in order to explore your options.
DivorceResource - 31-Jul-17 @ 12:05 PM
I have waited out my 5 years seperation... I went to medation 7 minths ago my ex wife did not show up now shes saying she cant afford to pay me out of the family house we build for me to wait 8 years to our child is 18 and i know she will mess about when our child is 18. I have moved on and have another family and children and she has another child and her boyfriend living in the house we once shared. Should going too court take this long as i have waited so many years and also has she got the right for me to wait that long for a pay out as she has also moved on?? It seems to be her way or no way i dont feel as men have any rights when it comes too this matter. Thanks
micky - 28-Jul-17 @ 5:23 PM
Pmush - Your Question:
I've split with my partner and moved into another property that I rent. We have joint custody of my 6 year old son. The mortgage is in both of our names yet my Partner has never paid a penny towards this. Now that I have moved out she is refusing to get a job or any support to pay for her half of the mortgage. She also refuses to sell the property so basically wants to live rent free forever.Is there anything I can do to force her to pay her share? My other option would be to get her to agree to sell or buy me out of the property when my son turns 18. However I don't think she'll even agree to this. What are my best options? Any advice would be much appreciated

Our Response:
If you can't agree, you could consider mediation to help you come to a mutual decision. If your ex will not agree to mediation, you may have to seek legal advice about taking your ex to court. However, in circumstances such as this, what is in the best interests of your child will always come first. It may be worthwhile you seeking some legal advice in order to explore your options.
DivorceResource - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:46 PM
I've split with my partner and moved into another property that I rent.We have joint custody of my 6 year old son.The mortgage is in both of our names yet my Partner has never paid a penny towards this.Now that I have moved out she is refusing to get a job or any support to pay for her half of the mortgage.She also refuses to sell the property so basically wants to live rent free forever. Is there anything I can do to force her to pay her share?My other option would be to get her to agree to sell or buy me out of the property when my son turns 18.However I don't think she'll even agree to this.What are my best options?Any advice would be much appreciated
Pmush - 27-Jul-17 @ 4:15 PM
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
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