Divorce and Dissolution: Deciding Who Gets the House

There are plenty of big decisions that need to be made when you are discussing the terms for a divorce agreement.

Reaching a finance divorce settlement is not always easy and you might need to call upon some professional help to protect your interests, especially when it comes to deciding who gets the house.

Divorce and Dissolution: Deciding Who Gets the House
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Home ownership details

An important starting point when talking about how to separate your assets in a divorce settlement is to establish how the marital home ownership details are currently registered.

If you are a homeowner and are either paying a mortgage or own the property outright, the title deeds will provide the legal information on who owns the house.

Many couples are registered as joint tenants, which mean that they are entitled to an equal share of the sale proceeds when the property is sold. Another possibility is that you might be tenants in common, which means that you each own a different percentage share of the property.

This would normally have been discussed when you first bought the property and it may have been agreed if one of you put more money into the house when you bought it than the other one.

If you didn’t have an agreement like this, it is likely that you will have been registered as tenants in common, which entitles you to an equal share. It is best not to assume and if you are unsure, arrange to check the ownership details recorded.

Sole ownership

If you are living or lived in a property that was the marital home is registered as being owned solely by your ex-partner, you may be able to register your interest in it so that you can protect your position in divorce negotiations.

If you have checked and found that the property is registered at the Land Registry, you could arrange to protect your position by filing a matrimonial home rights notice or a home rights notice.

The form required to do this is called an HR1 and it is currently free of charge to file this notice.

If the property is not registered at Land Registry, you can still take action by applying for a Class F Land Charge, which costs a nominal fee of £1.

Alternatively, if the property in question is not the family home, there is the chance that you may be able to file a restriction at the Land Registry.

Although these services are either free or available for a small fee, you may want to consider getting professional advice on what you best course of action is in order to protect your interest in a property, if it is not already registered.

Changing the ownership details

Another important point to consider is that even when you are divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved, if the property is not sold and it is still registered as joint tenants, this could mean that your ex-partner could get your share if you die before them.

Deciding who gets the house and how to account for your marital home in the divorce settlement, is an important decision and will help you to move on if you manage to resolve these issues successfully.

Michael Kerr works as a divorce mediator. He likes to share his experience with others through posting online. You can find his articles mainly on relationship blogs.

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