Divorce and my home

I am getting divorced. What will happen to our family home? The family home is normally the main asset to be dealt with when a marriage breaks down. You will need to have the house valued by an estate agent and you will need a statement of the current mortgage debt.

I am getting divorced. What will happen to our family home?

The family home is normally the main asset to be dealt with when a marriage breaks down. You will need to have the house valued by an estate agent and you will need a statement of the current mortgage debt.

If the children stay with me, can I keep the house?

The first consideration will always be housing the children of the family and the court will be keen to ensure that you have made adequate arrangements to accommodate the children. With rising property prices, it is now common that, even with substantial equity in the home, there is insufficient to provide both partners with their own properties upon separation. One of the options is an arrangement known as a “mesher order”, where the partner with the main care of the children remains in the property for a specified period of time, usually

until the children reach 17 or finish full-time education, when the property is sold and the proceeds divided.

Will the property remain in our joint names until then?

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The property will be transferred immediately from the partners' joint names into the sole name of the parent with care of the children. The non-resident parent will then take a charge over the property, similar to a mortgage, for his or her share of the interest.

Are there any other options open to me?

Another option would be a transfer of equity, where one partner purchases the other partner's interest in the property. This option will often depend upon the purchaser's borrowing capacity, as even if he or she is able to raise enough money to purchase the ex-partner's share of the property, he or she must be able to pay the existing mortgage.

What if I can't afford to buy my ex-partner's share?

The only option may be to sell the property, allowing for a division of the equity immediately. In today's rising property market, sometimes a division of the equity is not sufficient for a deposit on a new property and people in these circumstances are turning to rented accommodation or alternative housing options, such as shared ownership schemes.

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