Who gets the house if we divorce?

How will a house be shared or dealt with if you separate or divorce?

A house is commonly the most valuable asset we have, which provides safety and a home environment for us to live in.  When couples separate or divorce, how the house will be treated will be a primary concern.

The options for dealing with the house will vary depending on the value of other assets, what mortgage capacities both parties have and what everyone's needs are.  Common solutions looked at include:-

1.      Sale of the house, with the proceeds of sale being shared equally or in such a way as both can then rehouse, if that is a possibility.

2.      In mediation a couple can agree to delay the sale of a house to a later date. Sometimes this is done so the house is maintained until any children finish their education. This is a specific agreement about a later sale.

3.      Transfer of the house from joint names to one spouse's name, with this being offset against other assets or the other spouse being bought out of the house. The person retaining the house will normally need to take over any mortgage on the house in their sole name.

4.      Mesher orders. This option allows one spouse to stay in the house until a triggering event such as their remarriage, cohabitation or a specific date. Both parties keep a financial interest in the property that may well increase over time, buttery would not be able to access that money until the triggering event has occurred. The house won’t necessarily need to be sold if the spouse who wants to stay in the house, after the triggering event, can raise enough money to pay to the other spouse their share of the property.

5.      Some parents agree “nesting” arrangements where the children stay in the house and the parents move in and out depending on who is looking after the children on which days. This arrangement normally only continues for a specific period of time but can be useful if for example children are about to do important exams and their parents don’t want to disrupt them until those exams have been completed.

When considering these options in mediation, understanding how both parties will meet their housing needs (to a similar standard) is an important part of the discussions.  There also needs to be consideration of the costs associated with sale and any purchase of new property, any costs for property transfers and any relevant tax issues.

If you are interested in how mediation can help you resolve the financial issues on separation and divorce, please give us a call on 0800206 2258 or send us an email at hello@familymandm.co.uk

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