Getting a divorce is not the most pleasant of events, and the legal process can be just as difficult and painful, especially if you don’t know what to expect. One of the biggest questions raised when a married couple separates is:
What happens to your family home after divorce?
Not only is there the attachment to the place you used to call home, but a property that could be worth a significant amount of money. The way the process unveils depends on your individual circumstances.
What are your rights?
Financial ties between spouses exist, unless otherwise stated by a prenuptial agreement. This means that both the husband and wife have the legal right to continue living in the property after separation, regardless if one person is not in the title deeds or mortgage. So, if only one spouse purchased the property, that doesn’t mean they are entitled to 100% of the property value. Simultaneously, if you are not on the mortgage, it also doesn’t mean you are not entitled to still living in the property or to getting a certain percentage of the property value. Sharing the matrimonial home assets is included in your legal rights whether you share the property ownership or not.
The decision of what happens to your matrimonial home can be made in two ways: by coming to a mutual agreement with your ex-spouse or by letting the courts make the decision for you.
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If you come to a mutual agreement with your ex-spouse, there are a couple of options:
- You can decide to sell your house, and the equity will be divided as each of you sees fit.
- One person can sell their half of the property to the other person, who decides to buy the house and stay in the house.
- One of the ex-spouses can decide to live in the family home, until the property is sold which will conclude in the equity being split between them.
- One person gets to keep the property, while the other gets different assets worth the same value.
You will need to get a Consent Order for the court to make the agreement legally binding after you and your ex come to a mutual understanding.
If this is not the case and you and your ex are not on the same page when it comes splitting the marital goods, a judge will then have to make this decision for you. The course of action can be determined by many factors. One of the most important considerations is whether you have children or not, and if you do, their needs will be put above everything else, to limit their lives being disrupted by the divorce process as much as possible.
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In this case the person who is the primary care-giver would typically remain in the family home with the children. However, the other person could get the following benefits:
- The person who remains in the property will buy the other person out with a certain sum of money to cover their part of the property.
- Other alternative assets will be given to the parent who doesn’t reside in the property
- A Mesher Order can be given to both parents, which means that the property will remain in both their names, and the person who is the primary care-giver can reside there until the children are no longer under-age.
- A deferred Mesher Order can be given, where the property is transferred into someone's name, while the other will keep an interest in it.
There are other factors to take into consideration when a judge is in charge of deciding the course of action, such as: the age of the spouses, length of marriage and how much you earn.
If you are going through a divorce, it is best to get legal advice from a professional divorce solicitor, which will help you build a strong case to achieve the best potential outcome that suits your personal needs.
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