Home > Property > The Family Home

The Family Home

By: James Bloom - Updated: 14 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Marriage Relationship Divorce Breaking

The ‘ex-matrimonial home’ is a highly emotive subject in divorce proceedings as well as often being the largest asset the couple owns. Depending on your situation, it could be sold and the proceeds divided equally, or get signed over to one partner exclusively.

Coming to an Agreement

If possible sit down with your partner, talk about your respective needs and try to reach an agreement. The court process regarding property can be long and painful so the more you can get out of the way in advance the better. If you and your partner are having trouble coming to an agreement, seek help from a specialist mediator.

There are numerous options and powers available to the courts. Make sure you talk through the various possible outcomes with a solicitor. When you go to court, they will encourage you and your partner to agree between yourselves without them having to make an order, so work out your boundaries for negotiation.

How a Court Decides

If a court ends up making an order regarding your home, their primary considerations will be the needs of any children and the means and earning potential of each partner. If there are no children, a court will usually divide the assets equally. If the mother gets sole residency of the children, she will usually also keep the family home. Even if the home is in the husband’s name, the courts have the power to sign it over to the wife in entirety.

If the children are independent but the mother has spent many years caring for them, a court will usually be disposed to securing capital and an income for her. They will also consider if she has re-married and given up a home or pension rights.

The father may be eligible for a Mesher order, whereby the home is assigned to the mother until the children are independent, at which point he would get a percentage share of the proceeds from the sale of the house.

Courts can also make certain types of orders to transfer rented property in a divorce. You should consult your solicitor as to what rules apply for you.

The main factors influencing a court’s decision are:

  • The welfare of any children.
  • The income, earning capacity and resources of each person.
  • The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each person.
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage.
  • The contribution made by each person to the welfare of the family.
  • The conduct of each person. This is only in very exceptional cases.

Short Term Considerations

You may want to consult a solicitor to make sure any property owned by your spouse is not sold or renovated before you divorce. You can also ask the Land Registry to have your house registered in your name too.

Make sure to keep up any payments and draw up a budget for how you and your partner are going to manage the separation while keeping afloat. You may want to cut costs in the short term by cancelling insurance or other payments, but you could regret the decision in the future. Try to keep things running as close to normal as is possible under the circumstances.

If You Have to Leave

If the home atmosphere becomes too difficult to cope with or you are suffering abuse and have to leave, you will not lose any rights to the property.

Your Ex is Living With a New Partner

You have no legal rights to a new partner’s property, but the fact they are living with someone else will usually lower their outgoings and therefore, especially in cases where children are involved, increase the amount of money available to provide for your accommodation.

Divorce Mortgages

Some banks and building societies now offer specialised divorce mortgages, which help you refinance and make a fresh start. Call your bank or building society and find out what they offer.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
WorriedWoman - Your Question:
Hi. My husband and I divorced 10 years ago but I never got a solicitor to sort out our finances because, at the time, there was no equity in the house. For the last 10 years, I have paid the mortgage and brought up our two children. My ex has been paying maintenance for them but nothing towards the mortgage.In the next five years, I am hoping to sell the house - which now has some equity.Should I try and organise a financial settlement now, or wait until I actually go to sell? Do I have a chance of acquiring more than a 50/50 split?

Our Response:
You are advised to wait until you wish to sell the house, as circumstances could change in the next few years meaning that any settlement reached or drawn up now could potentially alter. Also, as outlined in the article, it would be better if you can agree between you and your ex what a fair financial agreement should be. Only if the matter goes to court, would a court make a decision regarding whether you have the larger split of the house. Court is always seen as the last resort where all other agreements fail.
DivorceResource - 16-Apr-18 @ 1:58 PM
Hi.My husband and I divorced 10 years ago but I never got a solicitor to sort out our finances because, at the time, there was no equity in the house.For the last 10 years, I have paid the mortgage and brought up our two children. My ex has been paying maintenance for them but nothing towards the mortgage. In the next five years, I am hoping to sell the house - which now has some equity. Should I try and organise a financial settlement now, or wait until I actually go to sell?Do I have a chance of acquiring more than a 50/50 split?
WorriedWoman - 14-Apr-18 @ 7:06 PM
Scott - Your Question:
Hi My wife and I brought a house around 8 months ago, since she has decided that she no longer wants to be together, (at this time we arent planning a divorce due to costs)She has offered to buy me out for my share of the original deposit (£5000), we have a 19 month old son who we will be try to do 50/50 custody (once I have a place to live).I am concerned firstly we won't be able to get me off the paper work due to the fact she is part time and would require benefits to cover the mortgage, is this something lenders will consider?And will me come coming off the mortgage impact future mortgage applications?If they won't remove me from the mortgage, the only other options are sell it which we don't want to do or I keep paying for a house I dont live in

Our Response:
Unfortunately, it is quite often the case that a non-resident parent has to continue to pay the mortgage because the primary care of the child doesn't earn enough to cover the mortgage. When taking out a mortgage both owners are equally liable for the debt for the duration of the mortgage term .One option is for your wife to get a ‘guarantor mortgage’, or financial help if she has a close relative who is willing to take on the mortgage payments if and where she cannot. Otherwise, please see link here for more suggestions. Many people continue to live under the same roof until separating becomes affordable. Mediation might be an option for you both to consider in order to see if there is a financially viable solution to the matter. However, your wife will not be able to rely upon income from state benefits with regards to a remortgage.
DivorceResource - 23-Mar-18 @ 2:03 PM
Hi My wife and I brought a house around 8 months ago, since she has decided that she no longer wants to be together, (at this time we arent planning a divorce due to costs) She has offered to buy me out for my share of the original deposit (£5000), we have a 19 month old son who we will be try to do 50/50 custody (once i have a place to live). I am concerned firstly we won't be able to get me off the paper work due to the fact she is part time and would require benefits to cover the mortgage, is this something lenders will consider? And will me come coming off the mortgage impact future mortgage applications? If they won't remove me from the mortgage, the only other options are sell it which we don't want to do or i keep paying for a house i dont live in
Scott - 23-Mar-18 @ 8:19 AM
ABCDE - Your Question:
Hi, I am in the process of buying out my ex partner from a house we jointly own. we lived together for 12 months and she has been gone around 12 months also. She is seeking an equal share in both the equity and the deposit funds. I am able to prove that her deposit contributions amounted to only 10% though I am not sure if I can ring fence this money or if she is entitled to 50% despite any supporting evidence.

Our Response:
If you both only lived in the house you purchased together for a short time, then she would only be awarded (in court or arbitration) more or less what she put into the purchase of the house and perhaps a share of the equity since the purchase. You may wish to seek legal advice. A solicitor's letter outlining what your ex is entitled to may help.
DivorceResource - 9-Mar-18 @ 2:53 PM
Hi, I am in the process of buying out my ex partner from a house we jointly own. we lived together for 12 months and she has been gone around 12 months also. She is seeking an equal share in both the equity and the deposit funds. I am able to prove that her deposit contributions amounted to only 10% though I am not sure if I can ring fence this money or if she is entitled to 50% despite any supporting evidence.
ABCDE - 9-Mar-18 @ 8:51 AM
Mrs K - Your Question:
Hi there, My husband and I have recently separated after 16 years of marriage. We have a joint mortgage on our property, which has recently been valued at approximately £280,000. There is approximately £40,000 left on the mortgage over the next 7 years. We have 3 children, 20, 16 (in full time education) and 11. The deposit on the existing mortgage was £100,000 which came from the sale of my own property in my name. I would like to buy my husband out of the family home now. He is self-employed, earning approximately £4,000 a month, whereas I work term time only in a school and earn £10,000 per annum. Could I get a rough estimate on what figure I would be looking at in these circumstances please? Any info greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
You would need to seek professional advice regarding this matter or try mediation as a way of attempting to work out your finances between you and your ex. However, you are unlikely to get a mortgage on your basic income, as a mortgage will have to take into consideration both your incomings and outgoings.
DivorceResource - 15-Feb-18 @ 11:18 AM
Hi there, My husband and I have recently separated after 16 years of marriage. We have a joint mortgage on our property, which has recently been valued at approximately £280,000. There is approximately £40,000 left on the mortgage over the next 7 years. We have 3 children, 20, 16 (in full time education) and 11. The deposit on the existing mortgage was £100,000 which came from the sale of my own property in my name. I would like to buy my husband out of the family home now. He is self-employed, earning approximately £4,000 a month, whereas I work term time only in a school and earn £10,000 per annum. Could I get a rough estimate on what figure I would be looking at in these circumstances please? Any info greatly appreciated.
Mrs K - 14-Feb-18 @ 8:17 AM
My fiancee and her ex husband have agreed a settlement figure for the equity on their house and I want to 'buy him out' - will I have to pay stamp duty if I borrow from a mortgage lender?
Jonno - 1-Feb-18 @ 9:55 AM
Tommo - Your Question:
I am currently getting divorced and we have agreed with solicitors that I can buy her out the house. Do I have to fund this myself?Basically, my parents are giving me some and some friends have offered to loan me the rest. Am I able to accept this and buy her out this way with peoples help or do I have to prove I'm funding it via a unsecured loan or something?

Our Response:
If you have the money in place to buy her out and you do not have to get a mortgage, then you may have to prove the money is in place before you go ahead with the transaction.
DivorceResource - 5-Jan-18 @ 3:32 PM
I am currently getting divorced and we have agreed with solicitors that I can buy her out the house. Do I have to fund this myself? Basically, my parents are giving me some and some friends have offered to loan me the rest. Am I able to accept this and buy her out this way with peoples help or do I have to prove I'm funding it via a unsecured loan or something?
Tommo - 5-Jan-18 @ 1:56 PM
gtk - Your Question:
QuestionWe divorced 5 years ago.My husband has a 30% lien on the property due in 5 years.I want to settle it early, but my husband wont agree the price.How can I sort this out.can I ask the court to help and if so what should I askThanks

Our Response:
Before you can apply to court, it may be advisable to sort this issue out via mediation. If you cannot, then you would be able to apply to court. However, remember taking an issue such as this to court will cost. Therefore, it's in both of your best interests to try to agree outside of court.
DivorceResource - 30-Nov-17 @ 2:59 PM
Question We divorced 5 years ago. My husband has a 30% lien on the property due in 5 years. I want to settle it early, but my husband wont agree the price. How can I sort this out. can I ask the court to help and if so what should I ask Thanks
gtk - 30-Nov-17 @ 12:31 AM
J66 - Your Question:
Hi - I am looking for some advice on where I stand with property entitlement.My Husband and I have been separated for 15 years. I still live in the matrimonial home, which is a shared-ownership. We own 25% of the property. When we split, our daughters were 13 and 15. He never contributed any maintenance for the children and has never paid anything towards the rent or upkeep of the property. He also stopped payments towards a joint loan, which resulted in a court case and me having to take full responsibility for the loan to repay it and avoid a charging order being put on our property. I entered into an IVA agreement and have since cleared all of our joint debts (approx £30k) myself.After separating, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and after complication with seizures and epilepsy, he was deemed unfit for work. He hasn't worked for more than 5 years but receives a pension from the military. He was living in council accommodation for which he received housing benefit, but in the last 2 months he has had to move into a nursing home as he is physically unable to live alone. Could you give me any advice on a likely financial settlement please?

Our Response:
We cannot anticipate what a court may decide in any financial settlement or hazard a guess without knowing what equity in in the property etc. If you cannot agree between you both, or via mediation/arbitration (if he is physically able) then you would have to refer the matter to court. Obviously, anything you have contributed to and paid for will be taken into consideration, as will the fact your husband had not contributed to the house when he was fit and well, along with the length of your separation and the fact you had two children in full-time education to support at the time. Plus, the fact you have personally settled all the joint debts will be considered. It is advisable to seek legal guidance here in order to explore your options fully.
DivorceResource - 2-Nov-17 @ 9:54 AM
Hi - I am looking for some advice on where I stand with property entitlement...My Husband and I have been separated for 15 years. I still live in the matrimonial home, which is a shared-ownership. We own 25% of the property. When we split, our daughters were 13 and 15. He never contributed any maintenance for the children and has never paid anything towards the rent or upkeep of the property. He also stopped payments towards a joint loan, which resulted in a court case and me having to take full responsibility for the loan to repay it and avoid a charging order being put on our property. I entered into an IVA agreement and have since cleared all of our joint debts (approx £30k) myself. After separating, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and after complication with seizures and epilepsy, he was deemed unfit for work. He hasn't worked for more than 5 years but receives a pension from the military. He was living in council accommodation for which he received housing benefit, but in the last 2 months he has had to move into a nursing home as he is physically unable to live alone. Could you give me any advice on a likely financial settlement please?
J66 - 1-Nov-17 @ 4:01 PM
Hi, my ex-husband and I split almost 3 years ago as he committed adultery. I have paid the mortgage on my own for the last 8 years and he pays no child maintenance for our 9 year old daughter. However, he now wants me to give him £20k out of the house (there isn't that much equity in it).He also wants to do a DIY divorce. I am looking at remortgaging the house on my own, but would I need to get a solicitor involved to get him to sign the house over to me? Thanks very much.
Tess - 19-Oct-17 @ 2:10 PM
BOYDENBABE - Your Question:
My partner's husband is offering her a pittance in their DIY divorce, but she believes that if he sells the house she can arrange for her share to go to her children (aged 15 and 18). Is that possible? I don't think she will have a share as it will be all his! She has agreed to take a small payment as he has promised not to get CSA involved as 15 year old will stay with him. although this will inevitably end up as shared parenting.

Our Response:
If your partner is married, then regardless of whether the property may be considered a pre-marital asset (if it was owned by her husband before marriage), she still has rights. Much depends upon how long they have been together etc. I would suggest that if your partner has agreed to a small payment, rather than paying child maintenance then this should be conducted through mediation in a signed agreement. Still, there is abolutely nothing stopping her ex applying for child maintenance regardless of any non-official agreement being made, if and where circumstances change. Your partner may wish to seek legal guidance regarding this, it is advisable in this case, so that she can fully explore her options and what she may be entitled to.
DivorceResource - 6-Oct-17 @ 11:37 AM
philnat7 - Your Question:
Hi,I need to get the family home sold to free up the money to pay for a tax issue and help care for my partner I am living with as we are struggling to make ends meet. I have written many letters to my wife requesting her to make a decision which she refuses. All my seperated wife seems to be hung up on is the fact that I had an affair.Can I force a sale even though my ex states I be making her and our 24 and 18 yr old sons homesless even thought they all work full time.

Our Response:
The court would not force the sale of the sale of the house, unless your 18-year-old has left full-time education. If they are all working and your ex is refusing to negotiate, your only recourse would be to take the matter to court. As only a court can rubber-stamp any decision it makes.
DivorceResource - 5-Oct-17 @ 11:15 AM
My partner's husband is offering her a pittance in their DIY divorce, but she believes that if he sells the house she can arrange for her share to go to her children (aged 15 and 18).Is that possible? I don't think she will have a share as it will be all his!She has agreed to take a small payment as he has promised not to get CSA involved as 15 year old will stay with him... although this will inevitably end up as shared parenting.
BOYDENBABE - 4-Oct-17 @ 11:55 PM
Hi, I need to get the family home sold to free up the money to pay for a tax issue and help care for my partner I am living with as we are struggling to make ends meet. I have written many letters to my wife requesting her to make a decision which she refuses. All my seperated wife seems to be hung up on is the fact that I had an affair. Can I force a sale even though my ex states I be making her and our 24 and 18 yr old sons homesless even thought they all work full time.
philnat7 - 4-Oct-17 @ 12:24 PM
Lori - Your Question:
When I got my divorce 7 years ago the judge left it up to my ex to take my name off the home that we shared. He never did and he is still paying on it. Since then he has logged the property and gotton income for it and now he wants to sell a portion of it. Am I entitled to any of the proceeds

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you had a full and final financial settlement ( 'clean break' divorce) which severs the financial ties between a married couple once the finances have been co-distributed.
DivorceResource - 20-Jun-17 @ 2:56 PM
When i got my divorce 7 years ago the judge left it up to my ex to take my name off the home that we shared. He never did and he is still paying on it.Since then he has logged the property and gotton income for it and now he wants to sell a portion of it .Am I entitled to any of the proceeds
Lori - 20-Jun-17 @ 4:45 AM
Husband married me for assets....I own all my properties and seems like He has been checking into Revers mortgages for my home. He had his name added to my property???? Can he get this loan with out my signature!
Bunny - 12-Jun-17 @ 9:38 AM
@J - have you offered him the market value? You have to take into account any appreciation of the property also. He probably wants to come out of it with a bit of what he invested, even if that was only time. Gill.
G^*(* - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:48 PM
Hi My partner and I separated last August after purchasing a property the previous January. As part of the separation it was agreed I would keep the property and buy out my ex-partner. After a very difficult few months trying to secure a mortgage I have finally done this and sent an offer for the release of interest to my ex-partner which has been refused and he is asking for an amount which I don't believe is representative of the amounts paid by him for the property. Furthermore, given the money spent from my personal finances to invest in the property then the amount becomes even more unrealistic. We were unmarried with no children. What options are left to me? I suggested he hire a mediator at his own expense to help resolve this but I feel it's foolish as even then he will have to take the amount I'm offering to pay for such services rendering his overall net gain much less than both the value he is demanding and the value I am offering. I have to say our solicitors have been less than helpful given they have only advised we sort it out between us but it's so difficult reaching an agreement with someone so wholeheartedly stubborn and inflexible despite the fact they have been presented with solid traceable facts and figures (moneys paid in and out of joint account). Thanks
J - 18-Apr-17 @ 12:35 PM
Cathy - Your Question:
When we divorced, my husband stayed in the family home with my younger son. The divorce settlement states that next summer, when my son leaves full time education (he will be nearly 19), the house will be sold and I will get a 13% share of the equity. I believe my ex. plans to pay of the remaining mortgage (negligible) before then and the estimated value of the house is c. £400,000. My share is therefore in the region of £52,000. My eldest son wishes to buy me out of my share by taking out a loan/mortgage for that sum. we are just not sure how this can be done. Would he be able to get a mortgage to buy in to a small share of the house?

Our Response:
There is no reason why he would not be able to get a mortgage if he is in full-time, permanent employment (for at least six months). He may also need a percentage as a deposit in order to take out the mortgage. Much depends upon the terms of mortgage companies - he/you would have to do some research.
DivorceResource - 15-Nov-16 @ 11:17 AM
When we divorced, my husband stayed in the family home with my younger son.The divorce settlement states that next summer, when my son leaves full time education (he will be nearly 19), the house will be sold and I will get a 13% share of the equity. I believe my ex. plans to pay of the remaining mortgage (negligible) before then and the estimated value of the house is c. £400,000.My share is therefore in the region of £52,000.My eldest son wishes to buy me out of my share by taking out a loan/mortgage for that sum... we are just not sure how this can be done.Would he be able to get a mortgage to buy in to a small share of the house?
Cathy - 14-Nov-16 @ 2:31 PM
It was agreed in our divorce in court that i get our marital home which still has a morgage on in joint names and my ex husband gets two properties we had also in joint names , we were given two years to remove each others names off the morgages , it has now been 4 years and my ex husband who has remarried is refusing to change the morgage , which is stopping me from remorgaging for my home , what can i do ?
Debs - 10-Jul-16 @ 10:08 PM
My story is similar to K I have a joint morgage with my husband but I have always paid the morgage while my partner has worked part time and aid the bills although he has been a house husband for the last year. In this case would I have more right over the house or would it still need to be split 50/50
royalice63 - 18-Apr-16 @ 8:06 PM
my husband and I are separating after 24 years, we have no children. when we got together my husband moved into my home that I owned with no mortgage. five years after we married I sold that house and we bought another one that I paid for with the funds from that sale but we had to borrow 20k to do it up and that was borrowed as a joint mortgage.if we have to split the assets in the home can I take back the full cost of the purchase price I paid before the remainder is shared. my husband agreed this verbally at the time I paid for the house but it was never put on paper
maria - 9-Jan-16 @ 7:36 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the DivorceResource website. Please read our Disclaimer.