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What Happens to the Family Home after Divorce?

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If you are going through a divorce, one of your major concerns is likely to be your home and whether you will be able to keep it.

The family home is often the most valuable asset a couple own, and providing somewhere for both parties to live can be problematic. Where children are involved, it can be particularly difficult.

At Henriques Griffiths, our family law solicitors can answer your questions and represent you during your divorce to ensure that you have the solution you need for yourself and your family.

What are the options for dealing with the family home following divorce?

The property could be sold, with the sale proceeds split either by agreement or by order of the court. Alternatively, it could be transferred into the sole name of one person, with the other receiving a larger share of other assets, such as savings or pension entitlement, by way of compensation.

If you have children, then the family home could be lived in by the children and their primary carer with the agreement that it will be sold once they reach the age of 18. An agreement would need to be reached as to who would pay the mortgage during this period.

Finally, the share of the property owned by each of you could be adjusted, so that the person moving out still has a share, which will be payable to them when it is eventually sold.

What factors are considered when deciding what happens to the family home in divorce?

If the court is asked to decide what will happen to the family home, it will try to make a fair division of assets and also ensure that both parties needs are met. In reaching a conclusion, it can take the following points into consideration:

  • The needs of your children if they are under 18
  • The needs of both you and your former spouse
  • Your ages
  • Any disability that either of you has
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The value of all of your assets before, during and after the marriage
  • Earning capacity and responsibilities, such as caring for the children of the family
  • Financial contributions made by each of you during the marriage
  • On rare occasions, negative conduct may be taken into account.

How can you reach a voluntary agreement on the house during divorce?

In all aspects of divorce, the court prefers that the parties involved reach an agreement between themselves. An experienced family law solicitor will be able to explain your options to you and negotiate on your behalf with your spouse’s solicitor to try and find an acceptable arrangement.

If you are in agreement over what will happen, it is important to record this and ask the court to seal it into a binding consent order. If you do not have a financial order in place, it could be open to your spouse to come back to you in the future to make a claim.

Where agreement cannot be reached, you will usually need to consider mediation as a next step. A professional mediator will work with you and your spouse to help you find a way forward, without imposing any binding judgment on you. This is a quicker and more cost-effective solution than court hearings and can also prevent a relationship from becoming even more difficult.

What happens if you can’t decide what happens to the house in divorce?

If you and your spouse cannot make an amicable arrangement in respect of your house, then you can ask the court to make an order. If the property is in their sole name, your solicitor will register your home rights at HM Land Registry so that you will be notified, should your spouse sell, transfer or mortgage the property.

Before the court hearing, you will need to make full financial disclosure of your assets and income and usually also attempt mediation.

The court will consider the circumstances of the case, always prioritising the welfare of any children who are involved.

Professional help

Dealing with a family home when you divorce or separate can be complicated, and it is important to protect your rights as far as possible. At Henriques Griffiths, our family law team have a high level of experience and always try and make the difficult process of dividing matrimonial assets as easy as possible for you.

We are strong negotiators and, where necessary, will help you through the mediation process to try and resolve issues without the need for litigation.

Contact our expert divorce solicitors now

For assistance with any aspect of divorce or separation, including to arrange mediation or for help from a collaborative law expert, please call our family law and divorce solicitors on 0117 909 4000 or use the links below to make an enquiry or request a call back.

We have offices in Bristol and Winterbourne, allowing us to offer a convenient local service for Bristol and South Gloucestershire.