Divorces and separations are stressful and upsetting times. When children and property are involved, things seem to be exacerbated even more. Paying your mortgage after separating might become a challenge. There are times, despite promises of financial support, where one party stops putting money towards the mortgage or paying it completely. Often this is the individual who is no longer living at the property. However, when it comes to their financial obligations, it is not as cut and dry as simply stopping payments.
Seeking financial advice when you are faced with this scenario is imperative. If lack of help or non-payment of a mortgage has put you in a compromising financial situation, seek legal aid immediately. If your ex has stopped paying mortgage, carry on reading for our advice.
Divorce and joint mortgages: Mortgage after separating
Lots of couples take out a joint mortgage when they buy a property and so what happens to a mortgage after separating? For couples, a joint mortgage means you are both seen as single owners and have equal rights in the property. However, one important aspect of a joint mortgage is that everyone named on the mortgage is responsible for making repayments. Or in other words, you’re both jointly and severally liable. Therefore, even if they are not living in the house, arrears on the account will have a detrimental effect on both parties. If one party does not pay their share of the mortgage, this will have an effect on their credit ranking and they may not be offered credit in the future.
You want to stay in the property
If you want to stay in your home but your ex is not keeping up their mortgage payments get in touch with a solicitor for legal advice. Also, call your mortgage provider as soon as possible. Most mortgage lenders are happy to help you as much as possible as long as you keep lines of communication open and are contributing regularly to your mortgage, no matter how much it is.
If you want to stay in the property long term, you will need to carefully consider whether you can afford the mortgage on your own. If the answer is no, you will need to think about selling your home. If the answer is yes, you should discuss buying your ex’s share in the property – this is often referred to as ‘buying them out’. However, this will only be achievable if you can get the funds together.
You are happy to leave the property
If you have exhausted all of your options, are facing repossession, or simply want to be free of any ties with your ex, you could opt to sell the property. Both parties will need to agree that this is the right thing to do. You will need to pay off your mortgage using the money from the sale of your house. It is worth remembering that this may incur a fee for exiting before the mortgage term is up. Leftover funds will be split between you and your ex and are often decided upon during divorce proceedings.
If you have children
In a divorce, the welfare of children is the priority and ensuring continuity in their lives is something the courts take very seriously. Any dependant under the age of 18 is considered a child. Generally speaking, if you have children and you are responsible for their day-to-day care, you will often be entitled to stay in the family home and the courts will ensure your ex pays towards the mortgage or that another financial settlement is put in place.
If you are facing repossession
If your mortgage has fallen into serious arrears and you have exhausted all avenues, you may find that your property is facing repossession. In this situation, it can be best to sell your property. If you would like some free advice from a friendly team on repossession and how you can sell your home please call 0800 020 9600.