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Divorce:what happens to the family home?

The family home is something special and close to many people’s hearts. A place where memories are made and a place you can always come back to, no matter where life takes you. So when relationships break down and households split, it’s no surprise that there’s a main concern for what will happen to the family home. 


What could happen?

A simple 50:50 stance can be taken when it comes to splitting the house and any other assets. However, more often than not, different factors are taken into consideration and no two couples are the same, so it largely comes down to meeting the needs of the couple and the children, if there are children involved.  

1. One spouse could buy the other one out. The spouse doing the buying can then stay in the house. 

2. The property can be sold and the profit shared. 

3. If children are involved, it is common for one parent to remain living with them in the home, to avoid causing more disruption for the children. In which case, the parent who has moved out may agree to wait for their settlement until after the child has grown up, or their ex-partner has remarried and the property has been sold. 

The problem with option three is that both people remain on the mortgage, which can make it difficult for the person who has moved out if they’re looking to get a second mortgage.


Valuing the property 

Once you’ve agreed on what to do with the house, the property will need to be valued. It’s recommended to have a few estate agents come out to give their valuations. Each couple could choose two estate agents, this way you can hopefully get a fair and unbiased valuation.

If both parties can’t come to an agreement of the property’s value, the court can ask for a report from an industry expert, such as a local estate agent or a surveyor. 


Marital Rights 

Remember that part of marriage involves the obligations you hold to one another, which includes the marital home. Therefore, even if the mortgage is in one person’s name, both parties still have a right to live in the property for as long as they remain married to one another. 


If this is the case for you, and your name is not on the mortgage, then we advise you register yourself on the Notice of Home Rights as soon as possible. This protects you under the Family Law Act (1996) whereby the home is owned by one spouse, but the other spouse has a right to remain living there. 


Selling the Property

If there’s no children involved, then selling up and moving on is often the result, but unfortunately, you’re at the mercy of the property market and how it stands at that moment in time. If things are moving slowly, you can either end up staying in the property for longer than you intended to, or reducing the selling price for a quicker sale - which can be difficult when, at the back of your mind, you’re considering the potential costs of your next home. 


If you’re looking for mortgage advice following a break up, then Mortgage Advice Bureau can be there for you. Our mortgage advisers can offer expert advice and help review your finances so that you’re in the best position to move forwards and clearly understand what all your options are. Simply get in touch with us today to arrange either a face to face or over the phone appointment.   


For further information call: 01325 380088

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