Splitting the family home and mortgage during divorce, dissolution or separation

If the property is held in your former partner’s name only rather than jointly, then your options will differ depending on whether you are getting a divorce/dissolution or are just separating after cohabiting. 

If you are married or in a civil partnership then you have what are known as “home rights”, meaning that you are legally entitled to stay in the property even if it’s not in your name (in Scotland this is called being a “non-entitled spouse”). You should register these rights with the Land Registry so that your partner cannot sell or remortgage the house without your permission. You can find out how to do this at GOV.UK.

If you aren’t married and split up with your partner,then you do not have an automatic right to stay, and your ex-partner can ask you to leave as long as they give you reasonable notice. However, you may be able to apply for a court order to remain if it is for the benefit of a child.

You may also try to legally establish an interest in the property in order to claim some of its financial value, in cases where you contributed to the cost of the home (for example,helping pay off a mortgage) or if you had a mutually-agreed stake in the property. It’s up to you to prove this, and you will likely want to seek legal advice, as it can be a very complicated process.

In England or Wales you can attempt to establish proof of a “beneficial interest” in the home, if you’ve paid towards the mortgage, or improvements such as an extension. You can also try to obtain this if your ex-partner bought the home in their name only, but you agreed at the time that you would share its value when you sold it. Claims of this sort are not guaranteed to be approved, which is why having evidence and seeking legal help are both crucial.In Northern Ireland you can apply to have any payments you made towards the house refunded, as long as you have evidence of these payments.In Scotland you can attempt to claim that you have been “economically disadvantaged” by the relationship, or your partner has been “economically advantaged”. This could be because you gave up work to look after children, gave up an old property to move in with your ex-partner, or because your ex-partner bought the property with your financial contribution. Bear in mind you only have one year after separating to make this claim, and again it is not guaranteed.

All of this applies in reverse too, so if you own the home and your ex-partner does not, be aware of what their rights and options are.If you don’t already have a solicitor and need legal advice, you can find one through the Law Society’s free Find a solicitor service.

Author: wpadmin

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