Who will get the house if we divorce?
This is often a question that family lawyers are asked when couples split. The family home is a special place and is usually the main asset that a couple may have and is central to the divorce and the worries that parties have in sorting out financial matters.
What are the options for the family home in a divorce settlement?
All assets that are held in joint or sole names must be identified and values agreed in order for negotiations to take place to bring a financial relationship between spouses to an end. It is important that a proper valuation of the family home is agreed for negotiation purposes.
There are several options. For example one spouse could buy the other out and keep the house; the house could be sold and the proceeds divided or one person can remain in the house and the other person defers receiving their share until a certain point in the future. This is more common in cases where there are children to consider. It is usually clear fairly quickly whether one party can afford to keep the home post divorce or if needs to be sold.
What if I cannot afford to run the home myself?
If you cannot meet all the outgoings it may be possible to seek assistance from your spouse as an interim arrangement if they have the income to assist and your outgoings are reasonable. It is important for you to maximise your own income as well and to ensure that you are making any claims for benefits that you may be entitled to assist in the running of the household.
The house is not in my name but that of my spouse. Do I still have rights?
If it is the family home a Court would consider it a joint asset and will look at the circumstances further. If the family home is in the sole name of your spouse you can protect your interest by entering a Notice of Home Rights against the property at the Land Registry as that will prevent your spouse from trying to sell the property without your knowledge.
If I move out will I lose my rights to the house?
No. If matters are so difficult at home that one party needs to move out it will not affect your entitlement to claim on the property.
Do I need divorce advice?
There are so many stories and myths around divorce and what happens to assets in the marriage we always recommend obtaining proper legal advice from a Solicitor so that you can get advice tailored to your own circumstances. This can help you make informed decisions about your future.
Sarah has also prepared a document on ‘Understanding Divorce’ – this is a free download that outlines the following: starting divorce proceedings, what to think about, what the law says, how to come to agreements and how to plan for the future. This a free document that can be emailed directly to you. You can access the download here