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Joint Property in a Divorce

The matrimonial home is generally the most important asset which needs to be dealt with upon divorce. Any jointly owned property can be quite complicated to sort out, especially where a joint mortgage is involved.

So what are the options?

What happens to a joint mortgage when you divorce?

Regular repayments for joint mortgages must continue being made as normal if the borrowers are separating or have got divorced – even if one (or both) of them have moved out.

This is the same whether the divorcing couple are joint tenants or tenants in common. Any failure to ensure that scheduled repayments are made on time, and in full, will be considered a breach of contract by the mortgage company; this can damage the credit ratings of both parties, making new mortgage applications more difficult and even potentially leading to repossession of the property.

Anyone with a joint mortgage who is planning to get divorced should inform their mortgage company immediately to discuss the best options for dealing with repayments going forward.

During a separation who pays the mortgage?

Deciding who pays for a joint mortgage during a separation or after a divorce will often be down to individual negotiation and agreement between the two parties. Any such agreement can form part of a consent order (see below). If an agreement cannot be reached, it may be necessary to go to court.

What are the options for a joint mortgage during a separation?

There are various options for dealing with a joint mortgage when owners decide to go their separate ways:

Selling up

Putting the property on the market may be the best way of achieving a clean break. Proceeds can be divided to help both parties find their own homes and make a new start. Normally the money from the sale will be split 50:50 but this can be negotiated – or decided by a court.

NB: If there has been a housing crash and the property has gone into negative equity, selling up may not be an option, as it will potentially lead to hefty personal debts. In this case, it may sometimes be best to carry on paying the mortgage until the market improves.

Buying out

Another common method for dealing with a joint mortgage upon divorce is for one ex-spouse (who wishes to carry on living in the property) to effectively take on the mortgage of the other party by buying them out.

This method also provides for a clean break, but it is predicated on one of the joint owners being in a financial position to take on the entire mortgage.

Maintenance payments

In marriages where there are young children, sometimes the husband will move out upon separation but carry on paying his share of a joint mortgage, leaving his wife and kids in the former matrimonial home (or vice-versa).

This arrangement can carry on upon divorce and may form part of the overall maintenance agreement. Although this does not lead to a clean break, it can work in the case of amicable breakups where one party is in a stronger financial position.

NB: In this scenario, the party who has moved out may want to remove their name from the mortgage even though they are continuing to make payments (as this can make it easier for them to get a new mortgage), but this is subject to the financial situation of both parties.

Carry on paying and living at the property

In the case of very amicable separations, both ex-spouses may decide to carry on paying off their joint mortgage whilst living together in the same home as friends.

This is an increasingly common scenario in today’s inflated housing market, where it is often impossible to get a mortgage without a partner or live independently. There is obviously no clean break but this is a straightforward option.

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What’s the best option for you?

Everyone’s situation is different, divorce is a complex matter and can cause a lot of tension between couples. So often continuing to cohabitate after the divorce is not an option.

Your decision can also differ if children are involved.

The main thing to consider is the option you wish to choose is viable both financially and emotionally. If you and your partner cant come to a decision together mediation can be very useful and has helped thousands of couples come to an amicable decision that is best for their family and situation.

What are Mesher and Martin orders?

Divorcing couples with young children can obtain – or ask the court to impose – a Mesher Order, also known as an ‘order for deferred sale’. This basically prevents the matrimonial home from being sold until a ‘trigger event’ such as children reaching the age of 18. 

A Martin Order is the same as a Mesher Order but designed for those without children.

What is a consent order?

A consent order essentially provides legal standing to an agreement between a divorcing couple, providing them with a method of enforcing the agreement later down the line.

This can be particularly useful in the scenario mentioned above relating to maintenance payments, where there isn’t a clean break. A consent order can also enforce a divorce settlement to prevent one party making financial claims on their former spouse at some point in the future.

Clean break consent orders are vital in divorce proceedings, especially when there is property is involved. However, many divorcing couples are put off due to the prices high street solicitors charge.

We offer a Managed Consent Order Service for just £299, saving you on average over £1,137, without compromising on the service you receive.

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Legal Advice Consultation - £99 Service

Speak to our family law solicitors to receive professional legal advice to understand your legal position and where you stand in relation to a financial split.

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Financial Agreement Consultation Service - £199

Having a qualified family law solicitor review your financial agreement and provide a full consultation on it will ensure that you are receiving a fair settlement.

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Which assets do you need to split as part of your financial agreement? Select options below.
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Detailed Consent Order - £399

This service is ideal for couples that want to put their financial split into a legally binding financial order, to ensure no claims by either party can be made in the future.

This service can include any/all of the following;

  • Division of pensions
  • Property portfolios
  • Divison of business assets
  • Sale or transfer of property
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  • Lump sum payments
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Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors.

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Managed Consent Order Service - £299

This service is ideal for couples that want to put their financial split into a legally binding financial order, to ensure no claims by either party can be made in the future.

This service can include any/all of the following;

  • The sale or transfer of a property
  • Personal belongings
  • Child/spousal maintenance
  • Lump sum payments
  • Debt provision

Why you should choose this service...

  • You'll save over £1,000 compared to hiring high-street solicitors to carry out the same service.

  • Everything is completed online, no time off work or court appearance necessary.

  • Drafted by qualified family law solicitors.

  • We handle everything for you, from start-to-finish including dealing with the courts.
Complete Our Secure Online Checkout To Get Started - £299

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Order your Managed Financial Consent Order for £299.00

You can include your decision in regards to property within your financial consent order and make it legally binding.

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