Divorce: What happens to the family home?

The family home is something special and close to many people’s hearts. A place where memories are made and a place you can always come back to, no matter where life takes you. So, when relationships break down and households split, it’s no surprise that there’s a main concern for what will happen to the family home.

What could happen?

A simple 50:50 stance can be taken when it comes to splitting the house and any other assets. However, more often than not, different factors are taken into consideration and no two couples are the same, so it largely comes down to meeting the needs of the couple and the children, if there are children involved.

– One spouse could buy the other one out. The spouse doing the buying can then stay in the house.

– The property can be sold and the profit shared.

– If children are involved, it is common for one parent to remain living with them in the home, to avoid causing more disruption for the children. In which case, the parent who has moved out may agree to wait for their settlement until after the child has grown up, or their ex-partner has remarried and the property has been sold

The problem with option three is that both people remain on the mortgage, which can make it difficult for the person who has moved out if they’re looking to get a second mortgage.

Valuing the property

Once you’ve agreed on what to do with the house, unless you both agree exactly on what the property should be valued at the property may need to be profesisonally valued. This would be done by a fully qualified surveyor who would produce a report for both parties, and would be considered as part of any settlement calculation. If the property is to be sold then the requirement for a valuation is often removed and an estate agent can be called out to agree a suitable marketing plan for the sale of the property given the situation and the timeframes the family are working to. You should make sure that you both have good lines of communication with the estate agent and that you are happy with their marketing plan before it is implemented. The proceeds from the resultant sale would then be distributed in accordance with the agreed settlement.

Marital Rights

Remember that part of marriage involves the obligations you hold to one another, which includes the marital home. Therefore, even if the mortgage is in one person’s name, both parties still have a right to live in the property for as long as they remain married to one another.

If this is the case for you, and your name is not on the mortgage, then we advise you register yourself on the Notice of Home Rights as soon as possible. This protects you under the Family Law Act (1996) whereby the home is owned by one spouse, but the other spouse has a right to remain living there.

Selling the Property

If there’s no children involved, then selling up and moving on is often the result. If maximising price is important to you both then this will often effect the time it takes to sell and you can end up staying in the property for longer than you intended to. Reducing the selling price for a quicker sale may achieve deadlines on time but of course will limit the potential for buying a new home once proceeds are split between you.

If you’re looking for mortgage advice following a break up, then Alexander James Mortgage Services can be there for you. Our mortgage advisers can offer expert advice and help review your finances so that you’re in the best position to move forwards and clearly understand what all your options are. Simply get in touch with us today to arrange either a face to face or over the phone appointment.

For further information call: 0333 6000 008

Email: enquiries@lifefinancialservices.co.uk or visit: www.lifefinancialservices.co.uk

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There will be a fee for mortgage advice.  The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1.5%, but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

Correct at time of publication. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.