Going through a divorce is an experience everyone wishes to avoid. However, many couples experience the pain of separating from or divorcing their partners during their lifetimes. And it’s at times like this that it really does pay to know your property rights.
One of the questions most commonly asked by spouses during a divorce is:
“Will I get to keep our house?” Or: “Who gets to stay in our house legally after the divorce?”
Separation and divorce are an unhappy time that can provoke much bitterness. When you are experiencing a divorce, property is often at the front of your mind. But there is lots more to think about as well.
In this blog, we look at property ownership rights for couples and individual spouses when a divorce is happening. We also deal with how to protect your property rights at such a time.
What are my home ownership property rights?
The law entitles homeowners to certain rights when they buy property, or if they decide to split up.
See if you can talk to your partner civilly and agree what happens to your home after you divorce. Doing this is always a good step.
However, very often people get angry and emotions run high at this time. Therefore, you may need to take steps to protect your own property rights.
The first step is to establish who legally owns your house or flat. And then look at the arrangements for who will live where during the separation and divorce.
Lawyers use the term “matrimonial home” for your family home. This could mean property rented by a couple when they were together, or the family house that couples are jointly paying the mortgage on.
Who owns my home legally?
If you think there will be a dispute over who owns your home during the divorce, you need to act. If you don’t do this, important decisions can be made without your influence.
Look for a legal document called the Title Deeds. If your name is on this document, it means you own the house, either in full or part.
There are a variety of ways in which your home could be owned. On the Title Deeds it could be owned by one of the spouses. It would be in your name, or the name of your partner.
The property may be jointly owned instead. This means the house or flat is owned by both of you. Alternatively, your house could be owned by a family member or someone else.
Find out if the family home (“matrimonial home”) is owned by your spouse/partner in his or her name alone. If that is the case, try to register your interest in the house to protect yourself. You will also need the property’s title number.
The process for this does vary across the UK, and advice on following this process in England and Wales is available here.
Approach HM Land Registry to see if your property is registered there. You need to protect your position with a ‘matrimonial home rights notice’. Alternatively, you should use a ‘home rights notice’.
Protecting your property rights to the family home
Check to see if the property is registered with the HM Land Registry. You can do this by visiting this website and downloading or printing off form ‘HR1’.
This is an “application for registration of a notice of home rights”. However, if your property is not registered at the Land Registry, then the process is different.
In this case, go to the Land Registry and apply for a ‘Class F Land Charge’. The fee for this is £1. More details and the form itself is available on the government’s website, to use this click here.
Make sure you register your interest by using the right process, as above. If you don’t do this, your partner could sell the property you own jointly. Or they could re-mortgage without you knowing about it.
Staying in the family home after a divorce
Once your matrimonial home rights are registered, you can usually stay in the family home until a certain date. Or a stage in the divorce legal proceedings.
The common belief is that one partner must leave the family home during separation or divorce. In fact, both partners can remain in the matrimonial home until their divorce goes through. Or unless a court order dictates otherwise.
However, emotions almost always run high during separation and divorce. For that reason, one spouse often moves out to cool the atmosphere.
Legal matters during divorce can be complex and sensitive. It is best to find a good family lawyer who will act in your interests and those of your family at this difficult time.
Due to divorce it can be in both partners’ interests to sell the family home, so each can move on with their lives.
You might think about selling your house quickly for cash, which avoids property chains. Selling this way also avoids a long wait by making a traditional sale using an estate agent. Here you can find a complete guide to what happens to your house when you divorce.
Divorce can be a complex matter and so it pays to really understand your position. By taking the time to ensure you know your property rights during divorce you will be better equipped. This will help when making important decisions that will ultimately influence any outcome regarding your property.
If you decide to sell your property quickly contact the team at National Property Buyers today. Our team will be only too happy to help.
Has this post helped you understand your property rights during divorce? Or has it left you with more questions than answers? Let us know by leaving a short comment below.