We are divorcing: who gets the family home?

By 12th September 2019 Family Law No Comments

The family home is typically considered to be one of the most important assets in many divorces. Although the family home is a special and sensitive matter, any negotiations in relation to the family home depend on each case.

Questions about a jointly-owned property are some of the most common questions that our lawyers get asked in family law-related cases and specifically what happens to the property after a relationship breakup. Here are your legal rights and options:

Your legal rights during a divorce.

If you and your partner are both legal owners of the property you have the legal right of occupation until a financial order is approved by the Court. You cannot be forced to move out of your home, except there is a Court order.

How can your family home be divided (when owned together)?

During a divorce, all jointly owned assets need to be identified and their values agreed for the negotiations to begin.  A value for the family home will be agreed in this process.

There are several options when it comes to your property, you can:

  • Sell your family home and both you and your partner can move out.
  • Arrange for one of you to buy the other out.
  • Keep the home without changing ownership and one partner can continue to live in it.
  • Transfer part of the value of the property from one partner to the other as part of your financial settlement.
  • In addition to all the options above, a court in England can set a specific date for when the home can be sold, for example, when your children turn 18. This is called a ‘Mesher’ order and once the sale goes ahead the earnings will be divided.
  • A court can also use a ‘Martin’ order to give you a right to occupy the property for life. This is usually used when children are not involved, and one partner doesn’t immediately need their share.

If you have children, the court will always take into account the fact that they will need an appropriate home to live in.

There are many solutions when it comes to the assets of marriage so please contact our Family Law team to get advice tailored to your specific situation.