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Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 19 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Separation Divorce Property Deed

When you divorce or separate, one of the hardest decisions to make is what to do with your home. It’s your biggest asset, especially as house prices continue to rise, but it also has a history for you both, and may represent and ideal place to continue living for one of you. So what are your options?

The Basics

You should always seek qualified legal advice on these matters, but in a nutshell, of you’re married, in a civil partnership or living together and own the home jointly, your partner cannot sell it without your permission.

Even if your partner is the sole owner, if you’re married or in a civil partnership, your partner still can’t sell the home without your permission (this does not apply if you’re simply living together).

In other words, you do at least have a safety net – in most instances you can’t be simply thrown out on the street. However, be aware that if you’re just living together with your partner as the sole owner, and you have no agreement in writing to show you have a financial interest in the property, then you have very little legal status, and even in court you’re unlikely to see any proceeds from a sale.

Staying In The House

It’s not uncommon in a divorce for one partner to buy out the other and stay in the family home. Make sure there’s an independent valuation on the property to ensure a fair price is set. Of course, much of this is dependent on you or your partner being able to obtain a mortgage for the appropriate amount.

If Your Partner Refuses Permission

If you want to sell and your partner doesn’t (or vice versa), one person can begin an action of division and sale in court. However, the other party can petition the court to a division of the proceeds, or to buy the place at a market price or one decided by the court.

In the case of one person being the owner of the property and the other withholding permission to sell, then the courts can allow the sale under certain circumstances. In essence, these are if one party is unable to sign for medical reasons, if one party has vanished and can’t be found, or if the court believes that permission in being unreasonably withheld.

It can also attach conditions to the sale, such as setting a date by which any sale has to be completed, or a minimum selling price.

How Much Can You Expect?

Obviously, it’s impossible to put a figure on how much you’ll receive. But a sale doesn’t mean you’ll split the proceeds 50-50. It all depends on what you agreed when you bought the place, whether one or other of you has put a lot into the property, how the deed reads, and if you can come to an agreement, either between yourselves or through solicitors, when you break up.

If you can’t come to an agreement, the court will decide for you, taking several factors into account. If you’re married, then it will depend on who paid part of the deposit, whether one or other of you has really been making the mortgage payments, who will be looking after any children, the income of each partner, and what other resources either of you might possess.

The court can also decide, if one of you is raising children from the marriage, that that person can remain in the property with the children until they’re of age, or even without children, that one person can remain in the property and pay rent to the other party.

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Hi We took out a joint mortgage 17 years agoI was made bankrupt 10 years ago shortly after we split up because I could not get on with her son I moved on Bout a year later she come to live Mitch me and rented the house out we are once again split up with no chance of getting back together so now she wants to sell the house but she is saying there is a block on the house from the creditors but there was never a court case for a block to be put on the house I spoke with citizen advice who advised me there would have to be a court case and only a Judge could decide to put anything on the house can I have your advice Regards Picky
Picky - 19-Jun-18 @ 7:28 PM
This is on behalf of my son, him and his partner have separate 2 years ago his exs live with my Granddaughter in a other town, my son put £ 7000 deposit she£1000 my son as paid the Mortgage from day one on his own paying her£310 a month child benefit, can you please tell me if he as to give her 50% of what he will get out of the sale of the house.
Fudge - 13-Jun-18 @ 10:39 PM
Hi, I separated for my husband 6 years ago (but still not divorced) he moved out and I stayed in the home we bought together. He is still on the mortgage.. But now I am wanting to sell. I have 3children and he has never contributed to the mortgage since we have split up. I have also put a lot money into the house since we split - new kitchen., bathroom etc. Can he stop me selling or if I sell will he be entitled to any profit? Thanks
Pippa - 12-Jun-18 @ 8:41 AM
Mr muscle - Your Question:
Have got a lady freind who I’ve known for years and husband has just recently been arrested as fractured her jaw.not been charged.not allowed anywhere near me and im not allowed anywhere near him.few weeks ago she told him she doesn’t love him and have a mortgage with him.he has tried committing suede with his diabetic insulin.over dosing as can’t accept it’s all over.all he wants to do is die.got to sell the house get half and half.he’s already said that he’s wants to stop paying the mortgage.she doesn’t work as amputee and so is her husband and he also suffers mental health issues.he basically said that he is going to let go into repossession and she won’t get nothing, where as she wants her half.she is seeking solicitors advice.he is very manipulative and controlling and does everything with his fist as has anger issues.Have you any advice on this as need to get him sign mortgage over and don’t even know where he is.

Our Response:
This is really one for a legal professional unfortunately, especially as your friend will need to communicate with her husband via a third party.
RecentlySeparated - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:45 AM
Have got a lady freind who I’ve known for years and husband has just recently been arrested as fractured her jaw...not been charged...not allowed anywhere near me and im not allowed anywhere near him...few weeks ago she told him she doesn’t love him and have a mortgage with him....he has tried committing suede with his diabetic insulin..over dosing as can’t accept it’s all over...all he wants to do is die.....got to sell the house get half and half....he’s already said that he’s wants to stop paying the mortgage...she doesn’t work as amputee and so is her husband and he also suffers mental health issues.....he basically said that he is going to let go into repossession and she won’t get nothing, where as she wants her half...she is seeking solicitors advice...he is very manipulative and controlling and does everything with his fist as has anger issues... Have you any advice on this as need to get him sign mortgage over and don’t even know where he is...
Mr muscle - 8-Jun-18 @ 7:38 AM
My partner and I bought a property 11months ago . I paid 80% of deposit and pay all the mortgage but she’s demanding 40% to buy her half or if we sell .Surely this can’t be the case. Also we’re not married and children are involved ..
Wizard09 - 7-Jun-18 @ 6:55 PM
Chris- Your Question:
I separated from my ex wife 4 years ago and moved out of the family home which is solely in my name. Life has moved on and we're both in relationships, mine is at the stage where my partner and myself are now looking at buying a property. The problem is that if we went ahead with a purchase I would be liable for second home stamp duty rate which makes it completely unaffordable. My ex actually got approved for a mortgage to buy the home from me (I was willing to use the equity to assist her) but this has since lapsed. I've spent the last 4 years living in expensive damp flats not suitable for my chilfren there anything I can do?

Our Response:
Is your ex wife willing for your to sell the property so that you can both purchase your own properties? Or to re-apply for a mortgage to buy the family home from you? If she is not willing you may have to take legal action to see if a judge can order a solution that suits you both, especially if you want to apply for share residency.
RecentlySeparated - 5-Jun-18 @ 3:26 PM
I separated from my ex wife 4 years ago and moved out of the family home which is solely in my name. Life has moved on and we're both in relationships, mine is at the stage where my partner and myself are now looking at buying a property. The problem is that if we went ahead with a purchase I would be liable for second home stamp duty rate which makes it completely unaffordable. My ex actually got approved for a mortgage to buy the home from me (I was willing to use the equity to assist her) but this has since lapsed. I've spent the last 4 years living in expensive damp flats not suitable for my chilfren there anything I can do?
Chris - 4-Jun-18 @ 9:37 PM
Hi I bought a house with an ex fiancee 7/8 years ago, after no more than 3 months we split quite unamicably. At the time the mortgage lender wouldn't let us remove her and have it solely in my name. We agreed I keep the house and all bills and when we can we would remove her and she'd expect nothing in return as she didn't contribute. Now my current family are looking to move, assuming the ex honours what shes said over the years would anyone know what the process would be as far as selling and the equity that has accrued over the years? Would it be just as simple as her signing something (obviously including solicitors fees which I'd take care of). Any help would be much appreciated!
P43 - 1-Jun-18 @ 12:52 AM
K - Your Question:
My partner and I bought a house (neither of us lived in it as it was primarily going to be a renovation project) and after 9 years together, we separated. He retired and used his superannuation to pay out the mortgage without telling me. The deed is still in the banks possession and he has been asking me to sign it so that it can be released. Where do I stand in terms of selling the property? I don’t have any intention of trying to claim 50/50 because it was eventually paid for with his super, but how do I make him agree to sell when he says he won’t?

Our Response:
If it's jointly owned you can apply to the courts for an order of sale.
RecentlySeparated - 29-May-18 @ 10:45 AM
My partner and I bought a house (neither of us lived in it as it was primarily going to be a renovation project) and after 9 years together, we separated. He retired and used his superannuation to pay out the mortgage without telling me. The deed is still in the banks possession and he has been asking me to sign it so that it can be released. Where do I stand in terms of selling the property? I don’t have any intention of trying to claim 50/50 because it was eventually paid for with his super, but how do I make him agree to sell when he says he won’t?
K - 28-May-18 @ 3:26 AM
Dazzler - Your Question:
Hi im recently seperated ive left the family home to go into rented accomodation I asked my wife if we could sell the home she said no. Its me thats been paying the morgage can I force a sale through

Our Response:
If you are joint tenants, you will need to apply to courts for an order of sale - the courts will look at all the information etc.
RecentlySeparated - 23-May-18 @ 2:59 PM
Hi im recently seperated ive left the family home to go into rented accomodation i asked my wife if we could sell the home she said no. Its me thats been paying the morgage can i force a sale through
Dazzler - 22-May-18 @ 5:46 AM
Cazzzba - Your Question:
HelloMy partner has a house ( joint tenancy) with his Ex.Bought in 2005 He paid a 40k deposit and the mortgage for 5 years.They split in 2010 and she refuse to sell. She has paid mortgage for 5 years.There daughter is 13.She lives in this 4 bed house renovated and improved by my partner with her daughter (who she had with my partner) her partner and his son.My partner can't get a mortgage with me because of this and he needs his equity back so we can get a house together.The house is valued roughly at 190k and mortgage left is around 70k.Has he got a case? We are all in our late 40s so need to get a new mortgage soon.Do we have to wait until his daughters 18 we will be past getting a good mortgage buy then.Thanks

Our Response:
He can apply to court for an order of sale if necessary. The judge will decide whether selling is a feasible option.
RecentlySeparated - 15-May-18 @ 3:34 PM
Hello My partner has a house ( joint tenancy) with his Ex.Bought in 2005 He paid a 40k deposit and the mortgage for 5 years. They split in 2010 and she refuse to sell. She has paid mortgage for 5 years.There daughter is 13.She lives in this 4 bed house renovated and improved by my partnerwith her daughter (who she had with my partner) her partner and his son. My partner can't get a mortgage with me because of this and he needs his equity back so we can get a house together.The house is valued roughly at 190k and mortgage left is around 70k. Has he got a case? We are all in our late 40s so need to get a new mortgage soon. Do we have to wait until his daughters 18 we will be past getting a good mortgage buy then. Thanks
Cazzzba - 12-May-18 @ 1:58 PM
Currently living with my partner in a house I bought over 3 years ago with an ex partner £10000 deposit of which I paid 6000 all paid from a joint account.I had lived here for under a year with my ex and I have paid the full mortgage since we bought the house fro my own bank account.I have 2 kids with my ex that I care for on my own with little to no support from him,(kids are 9 and 4) am I able to sell the house at a reduced price to my current partner and how much control would my ex have over this?Also can he force a sale as he has said?? Thanks
Me - 4-May-18 @ 10:20 PM
9 years ago I left my property with my 2 daughters (then 6 and 10) due to emotional and physical abuse from my ex partner, who is their fathrler. We were not married, but bought the house in joint names on a interest only mortgage. I have continued to live away from the property and he has continued to lived there refusing to sell. He has solely paid the mortgage, but defaulted many times and indeed on 1 occasion I made a large payment to prevent repossession. I have equity in the property and am keen to sell in order to access this, pay off the mortgage and break my financial connection with him. Prior to leaving I was the prime payer of the mortgage (he is a compulsive gambler). Our children have rarely stayed at the house and not for many years now (he has them 1-2 times a year for a handful of days only). I also notice a number of charges on the property for CCJs in his name for various debts. Given my situation am I able to force the sale of the property and if sold am I likely to be successful with a 50/50 split of the equity. Will all charges in his name be taken for his share? Can a court order his to make a contribution towards any cost of court action?
St - 1-May-18 @ 10:04 PM
If my husband refusing to sell but pays the mortgage can I still get him to put it up for sale as I can’t afford to move out
Lynn - 1-May-18 @ 8:25 PM
Mark - Your Question:
Myself and my ex-wife bought out house in 2006 on an interest only mortgage, she stopped working in 2013 after a breakdown and I became her carer and paid all the bills, we split in Dec 2016 and I am still paying the mortgage and 2nd mortgage and the house went on the market 5 months ago and now I have been informed today that she is refusing to sell as she is applying for Legal aid so I could be paying this for the for-see-able, I am struggling at the moment as I have had to rent somewhere and start again.Apart from getting the property repossessed is there anything else I can do?Regards,M

Our Response:
You could try applying to court for "an order of sale" . Your ex will need to provide strong reason for refusing to sell. If her argument is insufficient, then the Order for Sale legally forces the her to agree the sale.
RecentlySeparated - 27-Apr-18 @ 3:28 PM
Myself and my ex-wife bought out house in 2006 on an interest only mortgage, she stopped working in 2013 after a breakdown and i became her carer and paid all the bills, we split in Dec 2016 and i am still paying the mortgage and 2nd mortgage and the house went on the market 5 months ago and now i have been informed today that she is refusing to sell as she is applying for Legal aid so i could be paying this for the for-see-able, i am struggling at the moment as i have had to rent somewhere and start again. Apart from getting the property repossessed is there anything else i can do? Regards, M
Mark - 25-Apr-18 @ 4:15 PM
Gtfsh - Your Question:
Me and my partner bought our house a year ago. I paid the £25,000 deposit and we have a deed of trust in which that will be returned to me. He has paid the mortgage as I am a stay at home mum but it is I’m both our names. I have decided I dont want to be with him anymore and want to sell the house. He is refusing, I can’t move out and rent somewhere as I need my money from the house to do so. Can he legally refuse this? And if so what do I need to do?

Our Response:
You can apply to the courts for an order of sale if one party doesn't agree.
RecentlySeparated - 25-Apr-18 @ 3:42 PM
Me and my partner bought our house a year ago. I paid the £25,000 deposit and we have a deed of trust in which that will be returned to me. He has paid the mortgage as I am a stay at home mum but it is I’m both our names. I have decided I dont want to be with him anymore and want to sell the house. He is refusing, I can’t move out and rent somewhere as I need my money from the house to do so. Can he legally refuse this? And if so what do I need to do?
Gtfsh - 23-Apr-18 @ 9:45 PM
I have been living with my wife for 5 years and married for 3, she has 2 children to her ex which live with us. The house we live in and mortgage we both pay towards has my wife and her ex' name on it, he lived in the house and paid the mortgage for 6 months before leaving. The deposit was a loan from her father and he wants it returned now. Recently we wanted a fresh start and decided to put the house up for sale and find out how much her ex wanted so things would run smoothly when trying to buy a new house. My wifes ex said he wants half of the equity, I cant get over the cheek of him after ive been paying the bills, upgrades and caring for their kids (as much as i love them i know their not my own and im reminded of this by their father) and transferring the money over to my wifes account to pay the mortgage. The house is sale agreed with positive equity and our offer on the new property has been accepted but im scared the equity we have gained will be drastically cut and we wont be able to afford the deposit on the new house. Can he, by law ask for this money and expect to get all of it and where do i stand financially as a marital partner in all this? many thanks for your help
hesunderthebed - 12-Apr-18 @ 7:33 PM
Benny - Your Question:
My ex wife left in 2010. There was no equally in the property which we have a joint mortgage. I have been paying the mortgage solely throughout that time. We are divorced and it states 50/50 on sale. Shortly after she left I entered into an iva in order to pay of joint debts. As such I have been unable to sell the house due to being in an Iva and now it’s concluded I want to sell. I originally wanted to sell at the end of the 5 year iva and got the house valued and what was left meant she would get about 25,000, however I was made to pay another year into the iva. Since then house price has gone up and less mortgage to pay but I still insist on 25,000 being fair. The divorce states after the iva but she was supposed to remove herself from deeds which she failed to do so. She now wants 50/50 which amounts to 40,000, is this fair?woukd there be any consideration to how long I have paid the mortgage and the amount of money I have spent on the property. Sorry I know this is a really complex question!

Our Response:
If the court order stated 50/50 on sale, then that's really what should apply. If you feel the IVA was only a result of debts you acquired jointly and you want to take that (and the mortgage payments you've made since the court order) into account, you may have to revert to the court to have the order amended.
RecentlySeparated - 3-Apr-18 @ 2:42 PM
My ex wife left in 2010. There was no equally in the property which we have a joint mortgage. I have been paying the mortgage solely throughout that time. We are divorced and it states 50/50 on sale. Shortly after she left I entered into an iva in order to pay of joint debts. As such I have been unable to sell the house due to being in an Iva and now it’s concluded I want to sell. I originally wanted to sell at the end of the 5 year iva and got the house valued and what was left meant she would get about 25,000, however I was made to pay another year into the iva. Since then house price has gone up and less mortgage to pay but I still insist on 25,000 being fair. The divorce states after the iva but she was supposed to remove herself from deeds which she failed to do so. She now wants 50/50 which amounts to 40,000, is this fair?woukd there be any consideration to how long I have paid the mortgage and the amount of money I have spent on the property. Sorry I know this is a really complex question!
Benny - 30-Mar-18 @ 3:44 PM
Partner and I both own half the mortgage and deeds, however I’ve paid deposit and every single bill since owning the house due to her low paid job, now split up and she refuses to sell, can I force a court order and will I be entitled to more than 50% due to the sheer amount I’ve put in compared to her?
S - 29-Mar-18 @ 4:31 PM
Mrs. Zippzer - Your Question:
I split up with my husband 18 months ago. We bought a house in 2007 on a repayment mortgage in both our names. I moved out of the house when we split and he has been living in it since. Our divorce came through last August. Our initial agreement was that I would continue to pay half of the mortgage until it went on the market, the date we initially agreed was October last year. We would then split the profit after repaying the rest of the mortgage 50/50. He then reneged on that agreement, and said that it will go on the market January of this year. Which I agreed to (as I had no choice!) and again in January he said it would be on the market by Easter. Again I agreed to this as I had no choice. It is now looking that again, the house isn't going to be going on the market at the agreed time. I'm still paying my half of the Mortgage. Along with rent and living costs of where I now live. and to be honest, It's slowly bankrupting me as I'm using my savings to live off, as well as getting a second job I was just wondering if there was any way I could force the situation without losing my half of a house that I've spent 10 years paying into. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
Try mediation first of all. If that doesn't work, you may need to apply to the courts for an "order of sale".
RecentlySeparated - 28-Mar-18 @ 12:42 PM
Me and my wife are going through divorce. House is in both our names but it was only me who has been paying towards mortgage all through 16 years as she never had a study job. Rift started when I regretfully hit her few months ago. Can she kick me out of the house by law because I hit her with me loosing my share of the house? Is there any law regarding this? By the way I am living in the house right now and she is living with her mom. An emotionally very week man needs some advice here please.
iazmat - 27-Mar-18 @ 8:49 PM
I split up with my husband 18 months ago.We bought a house in 2007 on a repayment mortgage in both our names.I moved out of the house when we split and he has been living in it since.Our divorce came through last August.Our initial agreement was that I would continue to pay half of the mortgage until it went on the market, the date we initially agreed was October last year. We would then split the profit after repaying the rest of the mortgage 50/50.He then reneged on that agreement, and said that it will go on the market January of this year.Which I agreed to (as I had no choice!)and again in January he said it would be on the market by Easter. Again I agreed to this as I had no choice.It is now looking that again, the house isn't going to be going on the market at the agreed time.I'm still paying my half of the Mortgage. Along with rent and living costs of where I now live. and to be honest, It's slowly bankrupting me as I'm using my savings to live off, as well as getting a second jobI was just wondering if there was any way I could force the situation without losing my half of a house that I've spent 10 years paying into.Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mrs. Zippzer - 26-Mar-18 @ 6:17 PM
Hi, I bought a house in 2006 with my then partner. We separated later that year and I have been living and paying the mortgage myself since. I have had no contact with him for over 10yrs and last I knew he was living in another country. How can I sell my home?? Thanks
GLN81 - 21-Mar-18 @ 3:56 PM
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Latest Comments
  • Picky
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi We took out a joint mortgage 17 years ago I was made bankrupt 10 years ago shortly after we split up because I could not get…
    19 June 2018
  • Fudge
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    This is on behalf of my son, him and his partner have separate 2 years ago his exs live with my Granddaughter in a other town,…
    13 June 2018
  • Pippa
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, I separated for my husband 6 years ago (but still not divorced) he moved out and I stayed in the home we bought together. He…
    12 June 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Mr muscle - Your Question:Have got a lady freind who I’ve known for years and husband has just recently been arrested as…
    11 June 2018
  • Mr muscle
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Have got a lady freind who I’ve known for years and husband has just recently been arrested as fractured her jaw...not been…
    8 June 2018
  • Wizard09
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My partner and I bought a property 11months ago . I paid 80% of deposit and pay all the mortgage but she’s demanding 40% to buy…
    7 June 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Chris - Your Question:I separated from my ex wife 4 years ago and moved out of the family home which is solely in my name. Life…
    5 June 2018
  • Chris
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I separated from my ex wife 4 years ago and moved out of the family home which is solely in my name. Life has moved on and we're…
    4 June 2018
  • P43
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi I bought a house with an ex fiancee 7/8 years ago, after no more than 3 months we split quite unamicably. At the time the…
    1 June 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    K - Your Question:My partner and I bought a house (neither of us lived in it as it was primarily going to be a renovation…
    29 May 2018