Will Filing for Divorce Mean I Lose My Home?
If you are going through a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership you should ensure you have protected your right to the family home. Filing for a divorce will not mean you lose your home or end up without anywhere to live. However, protecting yourself against any wrong doing will help give you peace of mind that you are taking the correct steps and dealing with the situation as best as you can.
Unless you are renting, your family home will either be jointly owned by you and your ex-partner, or just one of you. Looking at the title deeds – a paper document showing the chain of ownership – will help you clarify who owns the family home. The title deeds will either display both of your names, or one of your names.
Protecting your rights
If it transpires that the property is owned by your ex-partner you should be able to protect your position if your home is registered with the Land Registry. The Land Registry have an online tool to help you with this.
If your property is with the Land Registry you can protect yourself by applying for a matrimonial home rights notice, also known as a home rights notice. It is completely free to do and should be done as soon as possible by filling in an HR1 form.
If your home is not with the Land Registry you will need to apply for a Class F Land charge with them. This costs just £1.
Once you have signed up your ex-partner cannot legally do anything in regard to the home without your say so.
Jointly owned homes
If both of your names are on the title deeds this means you and your ex-partner own the property together. This will either be as joint tenants or tenants in common.
If you are joint tenants, the property will be shared equally between you. If you own the home as tenants in common you both own a share in the property. You can split ownership 50/50, or in a percentage split you both deem fit.
You can find out whether you own the property as joint tenants or tenants in common by using a search with the Land Registry. This service costs £3.
Contact your mortgage lender
One step you must take when divorcing is to let your mortgage lender know, if your name is on the account – if your name is not on the account, your ex-partner will need to inform them. Regardless of whether payments will continue as normal, informing your lender of the situation will prepare for any future arrears that may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Mortgage lenders appreciate honesty, and this will pay dividends should you require their understanding and help further down the line.
What to do with house in divorce
Regardless of your position, you will not lose your home and no solicitor or member of the court will see you homeless as a result of a divorce. Whilst it may seem scary and intimidating at the time, if you follow the steps above and abide by your solicitor’s advice, you will be able to get through your divorce. If you are not on good terms with your ex things may seem overwhelming but do not fear losing your home.