Dealing with property when separating

This section is aimed at helping separating couples that are looking to understand what can be done when it comes to dividing property.

When divorcing or ending a civil partnership, the biggest financial decision in most cases is how to deal with the family home.

Dividing property when separating is always difficult and legal advice should always be sought where possible. This section on property and separation will give you the base knowledge you need to understand your rights and how property can actually be divided.

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Understanding how properties can be divided

You have several options when it comes to dividing the family home. We have outlined some of the outcomes you may decide to do;

  1. Selling the property – Both parties would move out of the family home and the money raised would go towards buying a new property for each person, if you can afford to do this.
  2. One party decides to buy the other out of the mortgage.
  3. Transferring part of the value – This involves one party ‘giving up’ their ownership rights to the property but keeping an ‘interest’ in the home. When the property is sold they would receive an agreed percentage of its value.
  4. Keep the home and ownership rights as they are – This is a common agreement reached when there are children involved. The home could then be sold when children turn 18 or leave school, depending on your agreement.

Use the ‘Guides’ section below to find information on the following topics:

  • Valuing a home when separating
  • Property adjustment orders
  • Living in the same house during separation

FAQs

Guides

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People who are married or in a civil partnership are not allowed to change the locks on their family home if it has been, the main matrimonial home during the marriage or civil partnership. This is the case whether only one or both of you own or rent the home.

In these circumstances, neither party has the right to change the locks on the property. You both have a legal right to be in the home and neither of you can exclude the other unless you have been to court and obtained a court order.

If one of you leaves the home of your own choice, the other partner still cannot change the locks until an agreement has been reached on the future of the home.

If you and your spouse or civil partner have agreed that one of you will move out temporarily until a more long-term solution has been reached, it’s also best to agree when they can enter the home, for example, to collect belongings.

If the other partner or spouse changes the locks without your agreement, you will be able to get a court order to provide you with a copy of the key

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What is a property adjustment order?

The ins and outs of property adjustment orders in divorce.

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Housing advice in divorce

Housing advice for divorcing couples.

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Valuing a home in divorce

How to value your home in divorce.

Living together when separating

Find out the rules on separation when living under the same roof.

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