Divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership is a stressful time, filled with major decisions about how to disentangle your lives from each other. One of the biggest financial choices you will have to make is about what happens to the family home.

What are the main options?

One option is agreeing that you will both move out and sell the property. You can then split the money from the sale to find separate accommodation elsewhere. If you don’t want to lose the home altogether, then you can arrange for one of you to buy the other out. Alternatively, one partner could stay in the home until a particular date, such as when the youngest child turns 18 or leaves school.

Even if one of you moves out you will both be liable for mortgage payments, so if your separation will affect how you currently pay your mortgage, you should inform your lender as soon as possible. Removing one name from the mortgage can be difficult, as the person who is retaining ownership will need to prove that they can still afford the monthly repayments. If your lender agrees to this then you can proceed with a ‘transfer of equity’, which our qualified conveyancers can assist you with.

Be aware that if one of you does leave before you are legally separated then it can be interpreted as voluntarily giving up control of the property, which can affect your standing when it comes to selling up.

Deciding what’s best for your family

This situation affects your whole family. You might be feeling hurt, anger or spite towards your partner, but should you have any children, it’s important to proceed with their best interests in mind. Even if you do not go through full court proceedings to settle your disputes, it’s worth understanding the position they might take in regards to your family home.

In most cases, the main focus will be to ensure that any children – particularly young children – have somewhere suitable to live, with whichever parent that may be.

Division and Valuation

If you decide that one of you is going to buy the other out or that you want to sell the house and split the proceeds, you will need to have the property valued. This should be carried out by an experienced surveyor, as compared to an estate agent’s estimate, the reports we prepare are independent and follow clear guidelines set out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The division of equity will depend on your circumstances. If you have been married or in a civil partnership and own the property as Joint Tenants, then splitting ownership equally should be straightforward. Tenants in Common will need to provide their Declaration of Trust to the courts, which will be considered alongside other factors.

Separating two lives is rarely an easy job, but when it comes to property division, our team will make the process as smooth as possible. If you need any kind of valuation on your home, please don’t hesitate to contact our team today. You can speak to us directly on 0845 862 2275, or send us a message using our Contact Us page.