Can My Ex Force Me to Sell the House? [Updated 2021]
Divorces are stressful and upsetting. How your children will be impacted and where you are going to live can be two of the biggest anxieties facing many people going through the process. However, legal bodies will always put children first and you can be entitled to stay in the family home. Take a read of our guide below to get a picture of where you could stand legally and seek legal help if you haven’t done so already.
Can ex-partner force house sale?
If you and your ex both own your home and share children together who are under 18, most solicitors and courts will grant you permission to reside in the family home. They will assess your finances to ensure this is possible and this will often be in place until your offspring are 18 or out of full-time education.
Most parents will hopefully want what is best for their children and, often, this is remaining in the family home when possible. Legal bodies will typically always aim for children to remain at home with one of the parents. Therefore, in this instance, an ex-partner would not be able to make you sell the family home.
Can I be forced to sell a jointly owned house?
Legalities around property don’t just extended to married couples who are separating or divorcing. If you are cohabiting in a jointly owned home you still hold the same rights as somebody who was married.
Unless you agree to voluntarily sell the property your partner cannot force a sale. However, they can apply to the court for an order for sale of the property. The court will take into account a number of factors regarding your circumstances and whether the property is a family home to dependent children.
If there is sufficient equity in your home to enable both you and your ex to rehouse themselves (and any children) comfortably it is unlike the court will grant an immediate sale, even if your ex-partner put in the plea. Often, the court will defer the sale for a period of time or until all children have reached 18 years old. However, every case will be dealt with based on the unique facts of your case.
Jointly owned home no children
Children are not the deciding factor of what happens to a property during a divorce. If you don’t have any children but the home is in both of your names, your ex still cannot force you to sell. When you get married you essentially sign up to a 50/50 split on life and this includes your home, savings, pensions, businesses and any other assets. These are known as matrimonial assets.
My ex won’t sign to sell house
Even if, according to the Land Registry you own a property in your name alone, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can go ahead with selling the property during a separation. If you are married, share children or have been together for a certain number of years nothing can be decided in this nature until the divorce is finalised. Understandably, the property will be discussed during the negotiations and a decision will be made.
If you and your partner are not married and there are no children involved the decision about property can be slightly clearer cut, particularly if it is in your name. You may be able to sell your home without repercussions, particularly if you have not been together for a significant amount of time or share any other assets. However, you should seek legal advice before doing so.
My divorce hasn’t been finalised
Legally speaking, in most cases, until a divorce is finalised both parties have the right to live in the home. However, understandably this can be uncomfortable, and a decision will need to be made to make the situation as bearable as possible. Seeking legal advice is a must for anybody going through a divorce as a solicitor will be able to help with all conclusions.
If you feel your ex-partner is forcing a house sale against your will obtain legal help and seek a Notice of Home Right against the property. This applies to married couples and will stop your partner selling the house whilst you are still legally married, even if the property is in their name.
What circumstances can you force a house sale UK?
Having a property with two legal owners, such as you and your ex, can prove difficult when one of you wants to sell. As we have mentioned, an order for sale will need to be applied for and the courts will decide on the best course of action. Outcomes from the courts can be one of the following:
- Refusal of sale
- Refusal of sale but an order is placed regulating the right to occupancy
- Sale is granted
- Sale is granted but suspended for a short period
- Partition the co-owned property (in exceptional circumstances)
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