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Divorce and Property - Molae Properties - Image of a split in the ground.

While a divorce can be a stressful time in and of itself, such an event can become even more difficult when a home is involved. Unsurprisingly, this can be a confusing and complicated situation. We will  start by looking at how you can protect your ownership rights. Then, we will look at the relationship between divorce and property, while highlighting some of the main factors to address during the process.

Establishing Your Home Ownership Rights

There are several ways in which a home can be owned. Either you or your partner may fully own the house, it could be split evenly, or it may be owned by another individual such as a family member. For the sake of this article, we will assume that the home is jointly owned.

The term “joint tenants” is used to describe a condition in which both parties equally own the property. Upon the death of one, the ownership is immediately transferred to the name of the other. “Tenants in common” refers to each owning a “share” of the property (a 50-50 split). Upon an amicable divorce, the ownership can likewise be split equally or one partner could choose to own more than the other. If you are unsure which scenario applies to you, it is wise to visit the website of the UK Land Registry to learn more. An online search only costs £3 pounds.

Divorce and Property: How Can Your Home be Divided?

To make things simple, we will highlight some of the main options that you and your partner have when choosing to divide a family home. The most common choices involve:

1. Perform a joint sale and use the accrued funds towards other purchases such as buying new properties.
2. One partner can choose to buy the other one out.
3. Choose not to change the current ownership status or arrangement. This can be useful when a divorce and property must also take into account young children. A sale can be completed in the future; perhaps when a child reaches 18 years of age or moves to university.
4. Allocate a portion of the value of the property to the other partner. This usually takes place within the financial divorce settlement. The individual who relinquished his or her share retains a stake within the home. In the event of a subsequent sale, the recipient receives a relevant portion of its total value.

A Delayed Sale?

There is also the possibility for a court to issue what is known as a Mesher Order. This delays the sale of a home until a predetermined date (such as the 18th birthday of a child). This order also determines how the financial proceeds are divided. Another option is to enact a Martin Order. This agreement states that one partner can live within the home until death or until they remarry. This option can be used when no children are present and the imminent sale of the home is not essential.

Addressing the divorce and property relationship can still be difficult. It is always wise to consult with a solicitor to further understand the rights that both you and your partner have.

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