There’s no doubt that divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences to go through in life. With worries about children, other family members and shared possessions, it can often feel like you are fighting a losing battle. But one of the main worries for people about to go through the divorce process is this – what will happen to our shared home? Here at Hill and Company, we wanted to give you some advice.
It’s important to note that both members of the couple have legal rights to the shared home. This is the case even if there is only one name on the mortgage as it is a shared matrimonial home, meaning that unless there is a prenuptial agreement, both of you have the legal right to live in the home.
During the divorce process, all your shared assets will be divided. Hill and Company will arrange for an external party to come in and assess and value all assets.
What will actually happen to the home?
There are 2 main options about what can happen to your home – you can either decide amicably between yourselves or get the court to make a decision on your behalf.
Deciding amongst yourselves
If you choose to decide amongst yourselves what happens to the home, there are multiple options. One member of the party can choose to buy out the other and keep the house for themselves. This will require a transfer of the deeds from both names to the one name and could potentially mean setting up a new mortgage. Alternatively, the house may have some tainted memories and you may want to sell up and divide any equity. Don’t forget that a property may not sell quickly so money from this avenue can take a longer time to come through. When a couple has other assets that are equal to the total value of the house, the property can be transferred to one person’s name whilst the other person gets to keep other assets that make up a similar value.
If there is a mutual agreement between you and your partner, you can make this legally binding by asking your solicitor to prepare a consent order which can be submitted to the court for approval by a Judge.
Getting the courts involved
If you and your partner cannot come to an agreement, then you will need to attend the Court and let them decide what happens to the home. Hill and Company offer full support during this process, working together to get you a result that benefits you. They will consider numerous factors and make a fair decision.
The factors they will consider are:
- If you have any children
- How long you have been married for
- Your ability to earn
- Your ages
The Court may issue a Mesher order or a Martin order. A Mesher order delays the sale of the home until a specific event, such as the youngest child turning 18. A Martin order delays the sale of the house until the person occupying it remarries or dies, most often used when the couple have no children or immediate need for the money.
What about if I have children?
The Court will consider how many children you have and their ages when deciding about what happens to your home. Their main focus will be to ensure they have somewhere suitable to live with each parent and the outcome will also depend on your individual circumstances.
They often will leave the home with the primary caregiver but either must buy the other parent out, give the other parent alternative assets which equate to that value, or a Mesher or Martin order.
Your next step If you’re going through the divorce process and want some advice on what will happen to your home, then contact Hill and Company’s expert family law department. Book an appointment here or call us on 0161 928 3201.