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Getting Help with Property

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Divorce Property Help Divorce Property

For many people who are thinking about divorce, the thought of what is going to happen to their home and where they are going to live next can be very frightening. This is just as true for married couples who own their home as it is for those who rent so it can be a very daunting time, especially as you have got the break-up of your marriage to contend with as well.

A small crumb of comfort however is that divorce proceedings, especially when it comes to the home and finance can take many months to resolve which should allow you to buy yourself some time and to consider all your options.

Private Ownership

Once you know there’s no turning back, you need to obtain an up to date valuation on your home as this will be needed if court proceedings are to follow. As well as this information, you also need to know how much you have left to repay on your mortgage. The difference between that figure and the valuation on your home is the ‘equity’ that is left in the home itself which will be divided between both parties, although not necessarily equally. Obtaining legal advice by this stage is important and it will allow you to determine if either are you are looking to buy the other partner out and continue to live there or, if neither of you wish to do that, or can’t afford to, it’s then time to work out what other options you might have as you might need to consider private renting or staying with friends or family in the short-term at least, if you cannot afford a mortgage on your own.

Remember, even if one of you has subsequently moved out, you still have a joint responsibility to each other in terms of any mortgage repayments etc. until your divorce is made final by the court and you should do your utmost to keep on top of any repayments you’re obliged to make.

Rented Property (Private)

Ultimately, it will be the landlord who will decide whether or not one of you can stay in the property should you divorce. Usually, providing the person staying can meet the rental payments, a landlord would probably see no reason why they should move out. However, others have strict rules about not letting single parents or those on benefits rent houses from them and although that may seem discriminatory, they have the right to choose who they want to rent their houses to so it’s important that you discuss these issues with them.

Rented Property (Council or Housing Association)

If you live in a housing association or council rented property, it may be worth asking if they can arrange additional housing to be made available for the spouse who is moving out of the matrimonial home. Even if the other person has left and you feel that you cannot cope with the amount of money you may have left to live on now that your spouse has gone, do not simply hand over the keys to the property as you are, in effect, deliberately making yourself homeless which may have an impact upon you getting another similar home in the future. You should go and speak with the relevant council or housing association representative first as they may be able to make some temporary allowances for you.

Why Communication is so Important

Despite what we may read in the papers about lenders forcing people into bankruptcy as soon as they get into financially difficulty, many lenders are only too aware that divorce and the implications of it can happen to anyone at any time and, providing you open dialogue and keep them informed as to the current situation, they can often make allowances or agree some different terms which make things easier for you to manage for a pre-determined period, at least.

Even when renting, people are often willing to help and Shelter is a useful first port of call for any housing advice. If money has suddenly become scarce, it’s also well worth checking that you have all the state entitlements you are allowed. With your circumstances changing due to a divorce, you may have overlooked certain benefits and credits which you may be entitled to so you should check this out by visiting your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

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Ju - Your Question:
Hi. We lost our home by repossession after 13 years of marriage. We were rehoused in a council house. Our relationship went from bad to bad but stopped together because of the kids. The council house was in my name only for years. The right to buy came in and I solely brought it just before we divorced as there was a time scale involved. He wanted nothing to do with it. Was not on the deeds. Paid nothing towards a deposit or bills and it was solely on my name. We got divorced. Now 10 years on he wants half my house. The Morgauge was solely in my name as was the rent of the council house. He has contributed zero. Nothing. Where do I stand after all this time.

Our Response:
It is unlikely your ex would be entitled to half your house if you have split up for a long time and he has never contributed financially. Only if you used money from your joint finances, or your ex put money into the house would he be entitled to claim.
DivorceResource - 30-Apr-18 @ 3:49 PM
Hi. We lost our home by repossession after 13 years of marriage. We were rehoused in a council house. Our relationship went from bad to bad but stopped together because of the kids. The council house was in my name only for years. The right to buy came in and I solely brought it just before we divorced as there was a time scale involved. He wanted nothing to do with it. Was not on the deeds. Paid nothing towards a deposit or bills and it was solely on my name. We got divorced. Now 10 years on he wants half my house. The Morgauge was solely in my name as was the rent of the council house. He has contributed zero. Nothing. Where do I stand after all this time.
Ju - 30-Apr-18 @ 2:25 PM
Florence- Your Question:
Your advice would be really appreciated. I'm divorcing my husband, amongst other reasons he's very controlling. The house and small mortgage is in his name. We have been together 25 years and married for 18 years. Children are 13 and 20. I've been a stay at home mum up until 2 years ago and took on a part time job as he stopped all access to the marital money. I currently still live in the house as affording a place of my own is impossible. He's refusing to discuss selling the house and buying 2 properties which could be done with the sale of the house. Has anyone experienced this and what did you do to make this happen? I have a solicitor who has prepared all my divorce papers and a request for financial disclosure, but I'm interested to know people's experiences when it come to how they go about and cope with selling the marital home when one party is refusing to cooperate and your both living under the same roof!!!Many thanks to you.

Our Response:
A court can order the sale of the house takes place. Therefore, if he continues to refuse, court would be the next option. Given the length of your marriage and the fact you have been a stay-at-home mum doesn't mean you are not entitled to half the marital estate. Your job of bringing up the children is considered as equally valid to the contribution of the marriage as his. If you do refer the matter to court, it is advisable to request a date when the property should be sold by in order to prevent the other party trying to prevent/stall a sale.
DivorceResource - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:24 AM
Your advice would be really appreciated. I'm divorcing my husband, amongst other reasons he's very controlling. The house and small mortgage is in his name. We have been together 25 years and married for 18 years. Children are 13 and 20. I've been a stay at home mum up until 2 years ago and took on a part time job as he stopped all access to the marital money. I currently still live in the house as affording a place of my own is impossible. He's refusing to discuss selling the house and buying 2 properties which could be done with the sale of the house. Has anyone experienced this and what did you do to make this happen? I have a solicitor who has prepared all my divorce papers and a request for financial disclosure, but I'm interested to know people's experiences when it come to how they go about and cope with selling the marital home when one party is refusing to cooperate and your both living under the same roof!!! Many thanks to you.
Florence - 26-Mar-18 @ 9:54 AM
My husband owns a house currently empty and we own a house jointly that he lives in he says I have to contribute to the one we jointly own even though I live with someone else is this correct
Sugerplum - 10-Jan-16 @ 5:40 PM
Hi,I own my house and had it before I met my husband.I am now trying to sell it and he has made some threatening remarks about me not being able to.He also said that if we were to split then he would be entitled to some of the money.He has never paid the mortgage, declined to go on the Title Register and doesn't pay any of the bills for the house. My question is - apart from making it difficult for me, does he have any legal rights to prevent me selling, and is he entitled to any of the sales proceeds if we split up?When I re-mortgaged my house approximately 2 years ago, he signed the Occupier's Consent and I've been advised that this means he has relinquished any rights he had to live there... He said that he had been told that he is entitled to 20%.I'm pretty sure that the house was mine before we met and was my asset then, and is not a joint marital asset, then he is entitled to nothing.
Expo - 24-Mar-15 @ 8:26 PM
@Foxy - it sounds like it, especially if you are paying all of the bills. This is a tricky one if she is not responding which means you may have to take it to court. The court may enforce the property to be sold with a time limit. However, it also depends upon your circumstances regarding whether you have children or not. Please see our partner article Can I Legally Force My Ex to Sell Our Property? here. However, this can bring with it some of its own problems if your ex wants to be awkward i.e. by continuing to put off prospective buyers etc (see some of the comments in this article below). I suggest to gather as much evidence as you can about her putting off potential buyers because you may need this to back you up in court. I hope this helps.
DivorceResource - 21-Jan-15 @ 3:02 PM
I jointly own a property with my ex partner. Although both names are on the title deeds and the mortgage, I pay all the mortgage and all the utility bills. Our relationship has broken down and we tried to sell the property, my ex turned down all offers, I have obtained a mortgage offer to buy her out and made an offer of 50% of the equity in the property but she refuses to respond to my solicitor. She still lives in the house at my expense, I have a new partner and we believe my ex is just being obstructive to my new relationship. My ex owns property near by, but still refuses to move out, what options do I have?
Foxy - 21-Jan-15 @ 10:33 AM
Hello, i am waiting on my decree absolute, with have yet to sort out our finances, we jointly own the home we live in, I have two children 14yrs old and 16years old. I want my due to be ex husband to move out, which he is saying he wil not until he receives 50% value of the house!!! I do not want to sell the house as it would be alot of upheaval for the children, my husband is an alcoholic, and there has been mental abuse. So therefore cannot live together. Currently last 3 months we have been sleeping at my parents house as neother the children or have been able to sleep, due to his behaviour. How much would I need to give him, to buy him out of the house? my family have said they would help to put a lump some together to buy him out, but not 50%. as a loan. if we go to court how much will this cost in legal fees, who pays for this? would the court take into consideration that the children will be liviing with me ? can they also make him leave the home?
allegra - 7-Jun-14 @ 11:52 AM
Whilst its useful to know all this house division after separation, it does only talk about houses where there is still an outstanding mortgage. In my case, there is no mortgage outstanding on the house. My estranged husband is renting a property nearby, I am still living in the house with our 9yr old son, and he is now pressuring me for his share of the value of the house. I only work part time and am worried about taking out a mortgage for 50% of the house value, and then struggling to repay it. I have my son's security to think about. As I have our son and intend to stay in this house for the forseeable future (at least 3 years until our son goes to senior school), would I have to give him a 50% share, or would the split be different.eg 40/60 in our favour?Any advice very much appreciated. Thank you.
jo - 28-May-12 @ 11:56 AM
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