Divorce and the matrimonial home

During divorce proceedings, the question at the forefront of your mind might be: “what will happen to the family house?” 

Whilst there is ‘no one size fits all’ answer to this question, we have set out three points below that provide some information in relation to the most common concerns. 

In the first instance, the parties are encouraged to agree as many aspects as possible regarding the division of the assets, including which party will remain in the family home. If the parties cannot agree, Court intervention may be necessary.  


  1. What rights do I have if the property is in my partner’s sole name?

If your home is owned in the sole name of your spouse, then there is a need to register your Matrimonial Homes Rights to alert you if your spouse tries to dispose of or re-mortgage the property without your knowledge. This will provide us with information which we can then act upon to protect your position. In the event that you wish to register such a Notice at the Land Registry please let us know. Similarly, if there are additional properties to the former family home which are in the sole name of your spouse then these can be protected, please contact us to discuss this further. 


  1. Should I move out of the family home during our divorce?

Both parties are entitled to remain in the family home during a divorce. Neither party is under any obligation to leave the family home in the absence of a Court order. If the parties are married, the party who does not own the property will have automatic rights to remain in the home, known as ‘Home Rights’, giving the non-owning party the right not to be evicted or excluded from the home. 


  1. Who pays the mortgage during our divorce?

If the mortgage is held in joint names, then both parties are contractually bound to pay the mortgage, regardless of whether one party has vacated the family home. If one party fails to make their contribution, the remaining party is still liable for payments. It doesn’t matter if one or both of you pay the mortgage – just that the payments are made. 

Of course, it is up to the parties to negotiate the manner in which the payments are made. 


  1. How will the Court deal with the former matrimonial home?

The Court will make decisions regarding the finances based on the following factors: 

  • Children under the age of 18 in the marriage / civil partnership and whom the children live with 
  • The age of the parties 
  • The length of the marriage 
  • The value of assets in the marriage, to include pre-martial assets and post marital assets  
  • The earning capacity of both parties 
  • Contributions to the marriage 
  • The standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage 
  • If either party has a disability 
  • Conduct of the parties 
  • The needs of each party 

The Court will endeavour to meet the needs of the children, followed by the needs of the parties. 

If you need advice in relation to your divorce and / or finances, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have a team of specialist private family divorce solicitors who can assist you in every step of your divorce. 

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