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Who gets the family home when you divorce?

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The best London divorce solicitors are frequently asked the question ‘’who gets the family home when you divorce?’’. It is not surprising that this is a common question as the thing that most of us dread is change, especially if you are already going through the upheaval of a separation or divorce.

Other separated parents can be desperate to leave the family home because of the memories it holds but do not think they can move, either because the children want to stay or because they do not think they could get another mortgage . That can lead to a spouse feeling trapped in the old family home and in limbo, until the children are of an age to leave home or they can get a mortgage deal that enables them to sell up and buy a new property.

The top London divorce solicitors say that if money is tight one option is for a husband and wife to agree, or the family court to order, that the family home remains owned in joint names. The financial court order can say either the husband or wife (normally the parent who has the main day-to-day care of the children) should live at the family home with the children until the children are say eighteen. The financial court order can then say that the family home is sold and the equity split between the former husband and wife. The equity split does not have to be equal as the court order, for example, could say that there should be a seventy / thirty split of the equity in the family home in favour of the husband or wife.

The best London divorce solicitors know that one of the main things that create anxiety and stress when going through a separation or divorce  is the uncertainty of knowing whether you will get the family home or not , and if not, how much money you will have to rehouse yourself. That is why, in the opinion of top London divorce solicitors, it is important to get early legal advice so that you know:

  • Where you stand legally in relation to the family home;
  • What extra information about the family home and other assets you will need to provide to your solicitor and the court to help you reach a financial settlement;
  • The likely range of options for the future ownership or sale of the family home.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

If you need legal advice on a financial settlement or financial court proceedings then OTS Solicitors’ divorce and family finance team can help you.

For a confidential discussion on how OTS Solicitors can help you in negotiating a financial settlement or by providing representation in court proceedings please call us on 02039 599123.

Who gets the family home?

There is no one simple answer that a top London divorce solicitor can give without answers to fact-finding questions. Those fact-finding questions include:

  • Is there a prenuptial agreement? If so, what does the agreement say about the family home?
  • Is there a postnuptial agreement? If so, what does the agreement say about the family home?
  • How much is the family home worth? Has the property been valued?
  • How much is outstanding on the mortgage?
  • Will the mortgage company agree to transfer the mortgage from joint names into one spouse’s sole name and release the other spouse from their mortgage covenants and obligations?
  • Will a share of the equity have to be paid to the spouse leaving the family home? If so, how can this money be raised?
  • Can the spouse taking on the family home afford to pay the monthly mortgage and bills on the family home out of their income alone?
  • How big is the family home? Would it be feasible to downsize and sell the family home?
  • If there were a family home move, what would be the impact on the children’s current and planned school placements? Are there school catchment area issues to consider?
  • If there were a family home move, what would be the impact on the children’s childcare (for example distance to childminder or grandparent)?
  • If there were a family home move, what would be the impact on the children’s contact with the other parent (for example distance for a mid-week overnight visit and travel time to school)?

The best London divorce solicitors say that you do not need to know the answers to all these questions before you take legal advice about the family home and your options.

Legal ownership of the family home 

In some family situations, a family home may be owned in the sole name of a husband or wife. This can be because the family home was inherited or bought by one spouse prior to the marriage or the couple chose to put the house in one spouse’s name because of worries about bankruptcy or the credit ratings of one spouse and the impact on availability of mortgage finance.

The top London divorce solicitors say that whatever the reason the family home was put in one spouse’s sole name, the other spouse still has a potential financial claim over it and over other family assets. To preserve a non-owning spouse’s interests in the family home a notice should be placed on the property with the land registry. This has the effect of stopping the owning spouse from selling the family home or mortgaging it unless the notice is removed by agreement or court order.

If you are worried about what will happen with the family home after a separation or divorce, the best London divorce solicitors recommend that you take expert legal advice on your financial settlement options. Most people tend to find that once they have taken legal advice and started to look at their options the thought of either moving or staying in the family home does not seem so overwhelming. A top London divorce solicitor will be able to help you look at options, together with your financial advisor, so that you know where you stand legally and financially.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

For legal advice on the family home and your financial settlement options or for representation in financial court proceedings please call OTS Solicitors on 02039 599123 for a confidential discussion about how the London divorce solicitors at OTS Solicitors can help you.

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