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What Happens to the House in a Divorce?

Since the 1960s, around a third of all marriages in the UK end in divorce. That’s one in three married couples. No matter how common divorce is, and how much more information and acceptance there is compared to other generations, it is still an upsetting and stressful time for both parties.

Discussions around children can be the toughest of all, as well as the division of marital money and property. After all, we all deserve somewhere to call home. A divorce does not mean you are obligated to sell your home, nor does it mean you will lose your home through another means and not have anywhere to live.

Below, we discuss different ways property is handled during a divorce and solutions if you do want to sell.

Financial agreements with your ex-partner

In a perfect world, you and your ex-partner will sit down and decide how best to split your money and assets. This helps avoid court hearings and additional solicitor’s fees. However, you and your ex-partner may not agree on certain things. Mediation may help (this is where a solicitor gets involved in the conversation and provides solutions). Other options before considering court are family arbitration and collaborative law. If nothing is decided upon, it may have to go to court. In this case, a financial order will be made, and the court will divide your assets.

If you have children under the age of 18 their welfare will be the top consideration in any legal proceedings. More often that not it is often decided that one parent will stay in the family home – if it is financially feasible – with the children for their wellbeing and stability through their formative years.

Just bought a house but I want a divorce

It doesn’t matter when you bought your property, if your marriage is not working you are fully within your right to file for divorce. However, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been married for over a year
  • Your relationship must have permanently broken down
  • Your marriage or civil partnership must be legally recognised in the UK
  • The UK must be your permanent home or permanent home of your spouse

If it has been under a year of marriage you should seek legal advice. A solicitor will be able to help you decide how to proceed and what to do with your home.

Selling joint property after separation

Let your mortgage lender know that you are going through a divorce. Even if repayments aren’t an issue, lenders will be sympathetic and appreciate being kept in the loop. This means, if a payment is missed, they will understand why. They may even offer a mortgage payment holiday whilst you deal with the situation. Remember, regardless of who is living in the property the mortgage will still need to be paid. Adding repossession to your divorce would be extremely stressful and will damage your credit rating for the future.

If you have a joint mortgage you could:

  • Remain in the property and pay the mortgage
  • Sell and share the money as per legal proceedings

However, the outcome will be determined in your agreement with your ex-spouse or the decision of the court.

How to keep the house in a divorce

If a decision can be made outside of the courts between both parties you may be able to stay in the family home. Some ex-spouses agree to simply let you keep the property, whereas others may let you remain in the home if you buy them out. If a decision can be made without the courts it can be dealt with by your solicitor.

However, if a solution is not agreed upon, even with mediation and other forms of involvement, the case will go to court. A judge will likely allow you to remain in the family home if any children are under 18. If you do not have any children, but can financially buy your partner out, they may agree that this is a suitable outcome. However, the courts may agree that the best course of action is to sell the property and split the money between you and your ex-spouse.

There are ways in which you can remain in your home and your solicitor will be able to discuss these with you and determine the best course of action.

Selling house after divorce

Whether you and your ex-spouse have agreed to sell the property you share, or if it’s a stipulation from the courts, there are ways to sell your home without added stress. You will need to think about:

  • How much your house is worth?
  • How quickly you would like to secure a sale?
  • Where will you be living upon completion?

In the UK, it typically takes 4.2 months to sell a house. This is from the first day of marketing to completion. When it comes to divorce proceedings, long waiting periods can exacerbate stress and upset further.

If you would like a quick and simple house sale, there are alternatives available from SOLD.CO.UK. We are sympathetic to our customers going through a divorce and can help make the process easier when it comes to selling a family home.

As an online estate agent we offer two ways to sell your home. We can operate as a cash house buyer. This means we use our own funds to buy your house from you, in as little as 7 days if you need. Alternatively, we can find a cash buyer for you in 30 days or under with our Enhanced Listing service (on average it only takes us 23 days). Either way, each service is completely free and we will be able to sell your house fast.

If you need help selling your home during a divorce, get in touch with the friendly and helpful team at SOLD.CO.UK today. Call us on 0800 566 8490 or send your enquiry to enquiries@sold.co.uk. Otherwise, book a free valuation online today and get the ball rolling.

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