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Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 12 Apr 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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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
I’m wanting to sell our joint house. Say we bought it for 400k. I put 300k and him 100k. How does the profit get spilt if not written agreement is in place please? Nothing legal is in place too (silly me!)..As we are arguing over this.. where do I stand legally?
Daw - 12-Mar-18 @ 3:25 PM
Alice - Your Question:
I live alone in a house which I paid almost entirely for in 2013, however my other half is on the Land Registry ownership at 40 per cent (to my 60) through my generosity. He visits every weekend and has contributed to upkeep and occasional bills. Where do I stand legally if we split up? Is he entitled to 40 per cent or any other rights? He has his own council flat.

Our Response:
If he is registered as a 40 % owner, then that is what he is entitled to 40% - if you want to dispute this now, you should seek professional legal help.
RecentlySeparated - 9-Mar-18 @ 2:49 PM
I live alone in a house which I paidalmost entirely for in 2013, however my other half is on the Land Registry ownership at 40 per cent (to my 60) through my generosity. He visits every weekend and has contributed to upkeep and occasional bills. Where do I stand legally if we split up? Is he entitled to 40 per cent or any other rights? He has his own council flat.
Alice - 8-Mar-18 @ 7:46 PM
Olga - Your Question:
HiI bought a property with my ex-husband in 2006. My new partner moved in with me in 2013. I have been making mortgage repayments on my own until September 2016 when we bought my ex-husband out and acquired a joint mortgage with my partner. At this point the property was valued at £225k and the outstanding mortgage was £165k. I wanted to put declaration of trust in place to secure my equity but my partner was very much against it. I made a mistake there. So we are tenants in common now. Now the financial position is difficult and both of us are getting into debt. I want to sell the property so that the debts can be cleared but my partner refuses. I am worried about getting into any defaults because of my profession but he doesn't seem to understand. I want to leave this relationship and sell the house. Could you please advise if the proceeds will be split 50/50 or the fact that I had some equity prior to him getting the joint mortgage will be factored in as well? What should be my steps to force the sale please? Many thanks.

Our Response:
As you're tenants in common, the proceeds will be split equally between you unless you made a declaration of trust when you took out your joint mortgage. A declaration of trust records each person's contribution (so the proportions of the property they own). This trust can also detail contributions to mortgage payments that each party makes. To force a sale you can apply to court (for an order for sale), this can be expensive.
RecentlySeparated - 6-Mar-18 @ 10:41 AM
Hi I bought a property with my ex-husband in 2006.My new partner moved in with me in 2013. I have been making mortgage repayments on my own until September 2016 when we bought my ex-husband out and acquired a joint mortgage with my partner. At this point the property was valued at £225k and the outstanding mortgage was £165k. I wanted to put declaration of trust in place to secure my equity but my partner was very much against it. I made a mistake there. So we are tenants in common now. Now the financial position is difficult and both of us are getting into debt. I want to sell the property so that the debts can be cleared but my partner refuses. I am worried about getting into any defaults because of my profession but he doesn't seem to understand. I want to leave this relationship and sell the house. Could you please advise if the proceeds will be split 50/50 or the fact that I had some equity prior to him getting the joint mortgage will be factored in as well? What should be my steps to force the sale please? Many thanks.
Olga - 3-Mar-18 @ 12:43 PM
My partner is in the process of selling his house and moving in with me. His x wife is still on the deeds and agreed to the sale but then changed her mind. We were looking at forcing the sale through the court once an offer has been accepted which isn’t a problem. However we have marketed the sale through Yopa and paid the necessary 839 in fees and his ex wife has instructed them to take it off the market. They are refusing to relist it without her permission and also to refund the fee. It says quite clearly on the t&c that you don’t need both parties permission to market only to sell and we should have that by the time it sells.
Fi - 15-Feb-18 @ 9:04 AM
LMC - Your Question:
I split up with you partner around 7 years ago. We were not married and she had an affair, plus left me on Valentines Day 2010.We have a joint mortgage and living together in the property for 3 years, 2007 - 2010, before she left.She said at first Sell but because of the credit crunch it was pointless, no profit, after which she said " I'm not bothered and you can have the property ". I then starting paying off credit cards and debt we had after taking redundancy from my previous job at Tesco Distribution. I also transferred the mortgage payments into an account in my name only with HSBC, which I've been paying for since the slpit 7 to 8 years.My question is, I've lost contact with her, so don't know where she lives, she changed her mobile number and she has never contacted me since so how do I sell my property with her name still on the mortgage and if I make profit what are my legal rights to have 100% or a large % due to time effort Mortgage payments, bills payed off etc etc.?!

Our Response:
Contact HM Land Registry and your mortgage provider for advice/help on this. If you have proof that you have been paying for the mortgage for the time and don't want to split any equity with your ex, a court decision may be needed.
RecentlySeparated - 13-Feb-18 @ 3:05 PM
I split up with you partner around 7 years ago. We were not married and she had an affair, plus left me on Valentines Day 2010. We have a joint mortgage and living together in the property for 3 years, 2007 - 2010, before she left. She said at first Sell but because of the credit crunch it was pointless, no profit, after which she said " I'm not bothered and you can have the property "..... I then starting paying off credit cards and debt we had after taking redundancy from my previous job at Tesco Distribution. I also transferred the mortgage payments into an account in my name only with HSBC, which I've been paying for since the slpit 7 to 8 years. My question is, I've lost contact with her, so don't know where she lives, she changed her mobile number and she has never contacted me since so how do I sell my property with her name still on the mortgage and if I make profit what are my legal rights to have 100% or a large % due to time effort Mortgage payments, bills payed off etc etc ....?!
LMC - 13-Feb-18 @ 11:05 AM
Hi, am recently divorced and still living in marital home with ex husband.The house is up for sale, joint names on small morgage. We have no financial agreement at present as have failed to come to an agreement. When the house sells does the money get paid into a joint account we have and then split 50/50 until we can agree a financial settlement for other assets ie pension pot, spousal maintenance etc.
Gina - 5-Feb-18 @ 11:55 PM
JointHomeOwner - Your Question:
Hi. I purchased a house with my now ex-partner, but split up before we moved in. I’m living in the house on my own, and have offered to buy her out and take on the mortgage. She is refusing out of spite, demanding that the house is sold. Can I force her to sell me her share?

Our Response:
You could talk to themortgage company and see what they say. Alternatively a solution via the courts.
RecentlySeparated - 2-Feb-18 @ 11:29 AM
Hi. I purchased a house with my now ex-partner, but split up before we moved in. I’m living in the house on my own, and have offered to buy her out and take on the mortgage. She is refusing out of spite, demanding that the house is sold. Can I force her to sell me her share?
JointHomeOwner - 31-Jan-18 @ 4:53 PM
Faith - Your Question:
Hi, my partner is walking out on me and my child of 11 after being together for 22 yrs. Across the 3 properties we have had, I have invested all my life savings, birthday money, pay rises , bonuses etc. This house is paid and he reckons he's entitled to half - although I have proof of all the money I invested coming from my premium bonds and into my account to then paying the house. I know he can't make me sell until our child is 18. Can I get all my money back if I sold? With a view to going 50/50 on the balance? If I stayed should I keep all receipts for all the improvements I would have had which will increase the value of the property? I have a written deed on the property before, but invested all that back into this house. My child will be living with me 6 days a week as he will be renting a one bed house. I am seeking legal advice - the free consultation to begin with to see where I stand. If I stand a chance of getting my money back then I'll take it further. I don't want anything else from him. Your advice would be gratefully received. Thanks

Our Response:
There are no rights or wrongs in this. If you can't agree how to split the finances, a court order can sette it in the way a judge deems best for all three of you. After 22 years of both of you contributing to the mortgage(s) and the house, it would be difficult to say that one person put in more than other. Try mediation first - if that's not successful head to the courts.
RecentlySeparated - 31-Jan-18 @ 10:03 AM
Hi, my partner is walking out on me and my child of 11 after being together for 22 yrs. Across the 3 properties we have had, I have invested all my life savings, birthday money, pay rises , bonuses etc. This house is paid and he reckons he's entitled to half - although I have proof of all the money I invested coming from my premium bonds and into my account to then paying the house. I know he can't make me sell until our child is 18. Can I get all my money back if I sold? With a view to going 50/50 on the balance? If I stayed should I keep all receipts for all the improvements I would have had which will increase the value of the property? I have a written deed on the property before, but invested all that back into this house. My child will be living with me 6 days a week as he will be renting a one bed house. I am seeking legal advice - the free consultation to begin with to see where I stand. If I stand a chance of getting my money back then I'll take it further. I don't want anything else from him. Your advice would be gratefully received. Thanks
Faith - 29-Jan-18 @ 6:08 PM
Nick- Your Question:
Hi.me and my partner. Bought home in our name.now she moved out of home and asking me to sell the property.I told her I can give half of Wat we will get if we are selling the house as cash.do I have the right to tell her I don't want to sell house.?thanks.by the way we don't have children

Our Response:
If both your names are on the mortgage/deeds then you both need to consent to the property sale. You may be able to come to an alternative arrangement using a mediation service or the courts.
RecentlySeparated - 29-Jan-18 @ 10:52 AM
Hi..me and my partner. Bought home in our name..now she moved out of home and asking me to sell the property..I told her I can give half ofWat we will get if we are selling the house as cash...do I have the right to tell her I don't want to sell house..?thanks..by the way we don't have children
Nick - 26-Jan-18 @ 5:42 AM
Mbb- Your Question:
I am being taken to court regarding a deposit given to me for my flat. The depositees claim is that the deposit wasn't a gift and that there was a mutual verbal agreement that this money was a 'share' in the property and he wants the house sold now and to take this gift back. I'm so fed up with the whole thing now which has been going on for a year. My solicitor and barrister advise me that with litigation it is always a 50/50 chance of success and should mediation not work, then it very much boils down to who the judge believes. I can't take this risk. So my question is - can I just sell the property and spend the money. I would rather gamble the lot or donate it than see this person get a penny of it. What would the implications be? Prison? There are no land registry notifications On the property. I am seriously considering selling and telling them all I don't have the flat and the money has been squandered.

Our Response:
We obviously can't comment on this because we have no information about the original transaction.
RecentlySeparated - 24-Jan-18 @ 3:04 PM
I am being taken to court regarding a deposit given to me for my flat. The depositees claim is that the deposit wasn't a gift and that there was a mutual verbal agreement that this money was a 'share' in the property and he wants the house sold now and to take this gift back. I'm so fed up with the whole thing now which has been going on for a year. My solicitor and barrister advise me that with litigation it is always a 50/50 chance of success and should mediation not work, then it very much boils down to who the judge believes. I can't take this risk. So my question is - can I just sell the property and spend the money. I would rather gamble the lot or donate it than see this person get a penny of it. What would the implications be? Prison? There are no land registry notifications On the property. I am seriously considering selling and telling them all I don't have the flat and the money has been squandered.
Mbb - 23-Jan-18 @ 10:30 PM
Hi, I split up with my ex partner 5 years ago now, we had a joint mortgage in both our names, I left the property and he remains living there still, where do I stand as I am desperate for my name to be off the morntgage but is to costly and they would have to do credit checks to see if he could afford it on his own, he is refusing to sell but I’m now desperate
Kay - 22-Jan-18 @ 3:08 PM
Ant - Your Question:
Hi there, I just need some advice about my home. I have a joint mortgage with my girlfriend. we’ve had the house for just under a year. I’ve just returned home after spending 4 months abroad and my girlfriend has decided she doesn’t want to be with me anymore. She’s already gone and got a mortgage offer in principle to take over the home in her sole name. I am now staying in alternative accommodation. I don’t want to lose the house and haven’t had time yet to get a mortgage offer. what are my rights please.? Can I still keep paying my mortgage and have the same rights as before ? Until I get myself sorted.? Thanks for your help

Our Response:
If you have a joint mortgage you both have an equal say over what happens to it. A mediation service might be the best way to progress this.
RecentlySeparated - 19-Jan-18 @ 2:23 PM
4 years ago I agreed to get a joint mortgage with my mother in order for her to be able to buy a home which I said verbally at the time I would only agree if she would be able to afford the home on her own which she said she would (I had just turned 18 at the time and still trusted her assurances back then), as it was a very small mortgage after a couple of years she should have been able to take it on solely based on her earnings as it would then fall within the 4x her salary. 3 years ago she then got herself in to heaps of debt and took out an IVA now making her unable to remortgage for 5-8 years. I'm now looking to buy my own home with my partner however we are financially unable to while I am still on a mortgage with my mum and she refuses to do anything about the situation. Do I have the right to force her to sell if she is refusing to in order to remove myself from the mortgage?
Unusual - 18-Jan-18 @ 12:02 PM
Hi there, I just need some advice about my home. I have a joint mortgage with my girlfriend .. we’ve had the house for just under a year .. I’ve just returned home after spending 4 months abroad and my girlfriend has decided she doesn’t want to be with me anymore. She’s already gone and got a mortgage offer in principle to take over the home in her sole name .. I am now staying in alternative accommodation .. I don’t want to lose the house and haven’t had time yet to get a mortgage offer ... what are my rights please..? Can I still keep paying my mortgage and have the same rights as before ? Until I get myself sorted..? Thanks for your help
Ant - 11-Jan-18 @ 11:19 AM
My sister was informed on Christmas Eve that her house was sold, contracts would be signed today 3/1/2018 & she has 7 days to move out. Apparently they can sell it with out her or her estranged partner signing or agreeing to the sale. She went to court at the beginning of November & the court appointed a joint solicitor to deal with the sale but they have not contacted her once. Even the Estate Agent didn’t know. They haven’t asked her for Anything! Her partner got caught in debts & now she is paying for it. They sent him an email so he informed her otherwise she wouldn’t have known! He is only a 20% shareholder, she owns the rest. However she agreed to settle thinking this would clear the debt as they were very aggressive and have hounded her for 10years. Now she will be homeless & penniless!
Tc - 3-Jan-18 @ 10:43 AM
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Latest Comments
  • hesunderthebed
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    12 April 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    3 April 2018
  • Benny
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    30 March 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    28 March 2018
  • iazmat
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    27 March 2018
  • Mrs. Zippzer
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    26 March 2018
  • Fee
    Re: Being Happy With Yourself After Separation
    @betty I've just recently separated from my husband...it has been two weeks. Just wanted you to know that I've…
    23 March 2018
  • GLN81
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    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…
    21 March 2018
  • Betty
    Re: Being Happy With Yourself After Separation
    I’ve recently separated from my husband, this separation was my decision, I now look back at my relationship and…
    20 March 2018
  • Daw
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I’m wanting to sell our joint house. Say we bought it for 400k. I put 300k and him 100k. How does the profit get spilt if not…
    12 March 2018
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