Do I Have a Right to My Home After Divorce?

During a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, you’ll probably wonder what happens to your home and whether you have a right to it after the split.

What happens will depend on factors like how the property is owned, whether there are children involved and what the best scenario for everyone will be.

Ending financial ties

A divorce doesn’t automatically end the financial ties between you and your ex-spouse. Although your decree absolute will officially end your marriage, it won’t necessarily end the financial commitments you have to your former partner.

This is why it’s worth getting a clean break order. It will prevent your ex being able to make a financial claim against you in the future. This could include a share of your home’s value, if you’re the owner or take full ownership following the divorce.

You should try to come to an agreement between the two of you about what will happen to your property after the divorce. Until you come to an agreement on your asset split, you and your partner are both entitled to stay in the home.

If your spouse owns the home

There is a way you can safeguard your rights to stay in your home. Matrimonial home rights mean your partner can’t sell, remortgage or transfer ownership of the home to someone else without your knowledge.

For your home rights to be valid, you must register with the Land Registry. You can’t apply for these home rights if your partner owns the home with someone else, unless they would be the only person to receive any money if the property was sold.

These home rights are a short-term solution. They stop applying once your divorce or dissolution is finalised by the court. That makes it vital that you come to a financial settlement as soon as possible.

If you own the home

Matrimonial home rights mean that even if you are the sole owner of your home, your ex could still be able to stay in the property. And even if you are the only person named on the mortgage or title deeds, your former partner could still be entitled to part of the property’s value.

This will depend on your circumstances. Your solicitor will be able to explain everything and help you come to the best solution for you. This makes it hugely important to get the right legal help.

If you both own the home

When you own the family home together, you can reach an agreement on what happens without the court’s intervention. This is generally the better option as it can reduce conflict and keep everyone on the same page.

The most common options for what happens to the home are:

  • Ownership is transferred to one person, who stays in the home
  • Selling the property and dividing the money you receive from the sale
  • You or your ex stays in the home after buying the other out
  • You or your ex stays in the property until it is sold and the money divided
  • You or your ex staying until all your children turn 18 and the house can be sold

If you can’t come to an agreement, the courts can decide. The biggest deciding factor will be whether children are involved. If you are the primary care-giver, the court will likely decide that you should remain in the family home with your children.

When there are no children, the judge will take into account other factors like income, financial requirements of each partner, standard of living, the length of the marriage or civil partnership, the ages of each partner, and what each partner contributed to the family.

The court will then decide on what happens to the home and who has the right to remain in it.

If you’re worried about what happens after a divorce, talk to us. Our specialist divorce and family law solicitors can help secure the best outcome for you at a hugely challenging time.


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