In the aftermath of the ending of a relationship there are many decisions to make – not least the destiny of any property owned by the two halves. It’s an awful time to be communicating with someone who you’re leaving behind, and the risk of making an emotionally charged decision is high. However, there are a few things that you should think about before putting the home on the market.
You’ve come this far…
If you’ve actually mutually decided to sell the home, then you’ve taken a large step forward and should at least regard this as progress. No longer will you each have the bitterness of one party leaving their home while the other remains. That said, the actual work of choosing how the home is divided starts now, and it might not be pretty.
Be aware of the ‘split’
Each party might believe they should or would get 50% of the proceeds, but a court may not choose to follow suit – especially where children are involved. Each party should also pursue independent legal advice. Divorceaid.co.uk states: “[A court could] could split the ownership differently so that one party retains an interest in the property until a later date. It could order a lump sum to be paid, endowment or life policy to be split or reassigned and the pension pot could also be allocated differently.”
Who’s paying the mortgage?
Assuming both names are on the deeds, the answer should be still ‘both parties’. Failure to continue keeping up repayments and insurance could see the home repossessed, and therefore both parties missing out completely. So someone must take responsibility, no matter how galling it is. If one partner is paying the mortgage from their account, this should be taken into account by the judge later. Contacting the mortgage provider sooner rather than later is the best approach.
If there are no children involved a court will probably just order the sale of the home and possessions, and split the pot between the two. Ideally there would be enough money for both parties to buy themselves a new home and everyone is OK, if not exactly happy.
However, with youngsters involved, their wellbeing trumps other concerns. Therefore, a court may decide on a non-equal split, of 75/25, 80/20 or perhaps even the entire amount to the legal guardian. If you’re on the ‘wrong side’ of the ruling it might provoke real bitterness and an unwillingness to contribute to the mortgage – which could put your children out of their home. Could you really look at yourself in the face ever again?
How important is money?
Or perhaps more accurately, do you need cash immediately and therefore are willing to dispose of the home quickly but for a lower price, or are you happy to put it up for sale at market value and sell over a few months? Remember the children in this – there’s a good chance it’s the only home they’ve ever known, and acclimatisation to the idea of leaving it is vital.
No one party can force the other one to sell (consult your lawyer if either party tries) but if you’re both looking to make a new start sometimes it’s best to get rid of the home as soon as possible. If your asking yourself “What’s the quickest that I can sell my home?”, then use specialist sites that can do it in less than a month. Ultimately, co-operation is the key to ensure everyone can move on.
Until Next Time… Charlotte x