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Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 18 Jan 2020 | 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 partner, my son and her daughter for three years. I also have two daughters from a previous relationship who I see at the weekends. Things have broken down and I need advise on how to go about selling the house. We have a joint mortgage, but aren't married and I know she wouldn't be able to buy me out.
Rob - 18-Jan-20 @ 6:57 PM
Hi, I've been with my partner for 16 years, married for 8. We got a mortgage 13 years ago and now have 2 children 6 and 8.weve been having issues for 3 years and about a year and a half ago things started getting better and she seemed much easier to get along with. Saying that, she suggested we move to the area she grew up as her family and friends were close by and it's a more affluent area which I did as all my family lives abroad and I have no one at all in England. Fast forward a year later in the new house, she decided we separate and I can see no way back. A day after she told me she wanted to separate, she asked me where I would be moving to. After researching things when it went bad previously, I explained that I am staying in the house and will do my best to get along as I don't want to rent. I know she can't buy me out and it's not that I want to be difficult but as I'm 40,earn less than her, am I really horrible in the fact that I want to have stability and will remain until I can get enough for her to either buy me out so I can get a new mortgage hun for a flat? I don't think if I leave now, rent for a few years I would be in a favourable position to achieve a 0 mortgage by the time I retire. Is this the wrong thing to do?
Sad - 18-Jan-20 @ 8:21 AM
Hi, bought family home with my mother. But now relationship is untenable, I’d like to move out, but have capital in house and buying another property means additional stamp duty. Also there is an overseas opportunity next year, my name on this house and the mortgage makes it difficult as this is a commitment. Am I able to sell the house in these exceptional circumstances?
Prodigal Cleese - 15-Jan-20 @ 7:52 AM
I have a joint mortgage with my ex fiancé we have had the house for 5 years, she is being uncooperative with a sale and is dragging her feet at any decision, we have a child who is 4 years old and we have her 50/50. What are my rights? Can I force her to sell?
Red015 - 13-Jan-20 @ 7:53 PM
I purchased a house with my late parents. I’m on the deeds and now they have both passed over my siblings both older, want to sell to gain money. It was not stated in our parents wills that it should be sold nor solely mine.But I remain in the dwelling. Do I own the property outright and how are my siblings able to force a sale when I don’t want to move on.
Spud - 12-Jan-20 @ 7:23 PM
Hi I am in Scotland split with ex we were just living together, 11yrs. Property is in joint names I was asked to move out by the court July 2019, currently homeless. Ex moved out in November 2019 whereabouts unknown,we have 2 children 4/5.. Property is currently empty. She is trying to raise a court order to force the sale, I have offered to buy her share of the house at market value. But doesn’t want to sell to me, can I do anything. Reason why I want this house is for my kids. Familiarity for my kids. Stability, especially for when I get them overnight.
Worst point in my li - 11-Jan-20 @ 11:39 AM
My ex and I were not married we have a joint mortgage on our property I have our 2 children aged 15 & 7 in the house and he moved out He now wants to try to force me to sell the house I will have nowhere to live and I also work from a converted garage in the house so I would lose the home and my job and would still have 2 children to provide for How can I stop him
Tan - 7-Jan-20 @ 8:49 PM
My wife and I are going through separation and we have a joint mortgage. She is willing to sell the house outright and split the equity on the property. On the other hand, I do not want to sell the house and would rather buy her out by refinancing the property and she does not want this either. So she is insisting on only selling the house to a third party. What can I do to get she accept a buyout?
Tom - 4-Jan-20 @ 3:25 PM
Hi all, my partner and I bought our first home last year now the relationship has broken down. My (ex) partner is making sale of the house difficult threatening to take court action and get the house himself for him and his children who he has every other weekend. I’m scared to loose my investment we are joint owners each paid 50% to the deposit I’m more than happy to split down the middle upon the sale. He is trying not to cut the tie but I need out quickly. We’re not married nor have children together. Would he get out house in favour in court or is this a threat? Please help
This is me - 3-Dec-19 @ 9:47 PM
I gave my daughter $34000 towards a house. She put $20000 down on the house and used $14000 to pay her boyfriends creditor off so they would qualify for a home loan. They got the loan and ended up with $3000 dollar mortgage which they both have paid half of for last nine months. Then he bailed out on her. He wants to sell the home or buy her out. If he buys her out what can she expect to recieve ?
Scott - 30-Nov-19 @ 12:26 AM
My husband "did a runner" nearly 2 years ago, we were married for 28 years.He sold a house that was an inheritance to him but im led to believe that if we divorced it would have gone into "the pot".I am living in the co owned house (no mortgage).He took 70k of the sale of the inherited house when he left.I havent heard or seen of him now for nearly 2 years.I am keeping the house going.Where do I stand now as I want to sell it?
ceri gillard - 12-Nov-19 @ 10:55 AM
I just bought a house with my fiancé she lie and got me arrest to get me out the house and keep it , I will like her to buy me out but she making it difficult what can Ido I been out the house four month and she has paid the mortgage 3 month by her self we have had the house for one year and both our names is on the house
O - 5-Nov-19 @ 4:30 PM
Hi, 4 years ago, my dad gave me 50K to put down on a house. He gifted it to me but was for me, my partner and our child. After a year of owning our home together which I had paid EVERY bill and mortgage payment every month. We split up. I moved out and continued to pay everything whilst my ex and son lived there as well as paying for myself to get by. They eventually moved out and found somewhere closer the her family so I had to get tenets in to pay the rent (illegally) I have been trying to get my ex to sell me her share as this house was basically a gift from my I’ll dad. She refuses to sell to me, won’t buy my share and refusing to sell the house full stop. How and what can I do to get MY HOUSE BACK!
MarkShoe - 4-Nov-19 @ 5:46 PM
Partner of 16 years left Never married so assume technically ‘cohabitating’ Joint mortgage 3 kids under 13yrs - we are still in house Is he liable for 1/2 mortgage despite not living in house plus maintenance on proportion of his income?
Samba - 27-Oct-19 @ 6:46 PM
I have a joint mortgage since 2004. My ex has never paid a penny from day 1. She left in 2007 and I have paid all bills, mortgage and any upgrades. I.e kitchen. Conservatory. Decorating etc etc. I now wish to sell the property but haven’t got a clue where she is. How do I go about the sale? Thank you.
IsitjustMeee - 5-Oct-19 @ 1:24 PM
Hi, I’ve split with my ex who I share a mortgage with, I put down 30,000 at down payment she put 2,000. She won’t sell the flat, due to our 2 year old son. I’m now tight every month as I’m paying half the mortgage and I don’t live there. I wanna sell my share can I?
Brokenstressed - 4-Oct-19 @ 11:11 AM
I split from my partner of 21 years 3 years ago , as I was the one paying the mortgage I agreed to carry on paying the mortgage until she sorted herself out financially. After a year I couldn’t afford to pay my own rent and pay the mortgage so we come to agreement to pay half each . I changed the title to tenants in common. Since February I’ve been out of work and become homeless staying in a homeless shelter. I’ve been told I’m not entitled to Benefits , No JSA because I’ve only been self employed for the last 8 years I haven’t paid class 1 only 2 and 4 . No universal credit because I have equity in a property I don’t live in (there’s £120,000 equity). My only option is to force the sale then I will be able to get on and rebuild my life but without any funds it seems impossible . My ex doesn’t want to sell the property and she don’t have the funds to buy me out . I just feel I’m stuck in a hole I can’t get out .
Penny Less - 18-Sep-19 @ 10:52 PM
Bought a house with a boyfriend in 2008. I am still married to spouse, but separated for 20 yrs.My boyfriend and I split about 6 yrs ago. I quick claimed the house to him..he is selling the house and has been advised that my husband needs to sign off on saleeven tho my husband has not been involved. I know I have to sign off also, and that is not a problem.I live in Florida, and a sale is pending. S My husband was never on the mortgage, or the quick claim...please help Does he have to sign off even tho he is not on the mortgage?
Barbie - 6-Sep-19 @ 4:49 PM
Joint mortgage, I want to sell and split. He refuses and is making my life hell. Am I able to sell property without his permission. What do I do legally. I can’t buy him out or pay him out! Please advise. Thanks. Lynne.
Lynneeeeee - 5-Sep-19 @ 4:12 PM
my ex parther want me to sell our family home or buy him out . i would like to stay in my home . dont know wot to do ...
son - 19-Aug-19 @ 5:58 PM
Hi i left my ex 4 years ago and I remained in the jointly owned property with our 2 kids. Since we split I have paid the mortgage completely by myself but I am now needing to sell as children now need their own rooms. The ex has not seen the children in over 1.5yrs and I have had no contact with them for 6 months now. I have emailed/messaged them to get their permission to sell but as yet have had no response and am now unsure what I need to do to be able to put the property up for sale.
NIC - 3-Aug-19 @ 9:18 PM
Hi I split up with my partner 2 years ago and moved out, we have 2 children together, we agreed on splitting everything down the middle, we share a business together, I pay maintenance for the children, pay half the mortgage and insurance policies, I have given half our joint savings to her aswell She told me that she's going to sell the house so that I can buy my own house, as I cannot keep paying rent as well as half of bills and maintenance, but now she says she won't sell I am in a financial state so I would like to sell my share of the property, can anyone help me as i dont know who to speak to it about it or where to turn
Mrs Jennifer Swift - 8-Jul-19 @ 5:05 PM
My wife and I are separated. Have two children.She lives in the house we jointly own with our children.Up until late last year. I was solely paying the mortgage for five years.Her farther gifted us as a married couple 40k for the deposit.Her farther sadly passed while we where still together.With her inheritance we/she spent 80k on a large extension on the property. I would like to sell my half of the property. Either to her or otherwise. Legally I don't know where I stand, as yes I've payed the bulk of the mortgage so far and still paying half.But her farther gave us the 40k for the deposit on the house in the first place, and the money for the extension came from her inheritance, an extension which has of course increased the value of the house. So, I guess legally I would like to know where I stand. Thank you x
Oli - 23-Jun-19 @ 9:21 PM
A friend brought his house with his then girlfriend 10years ago.She left after 2 years never paying anything but he now wants to sell the house. But doesn’t have any contact details for her. She is named on mortgage and deedswhat can he do
Juju - 10-Jun-19 @ 6:10 PM
I have been separated from my husband for 5 years.He wont sign divorce papers and my name is on mortgage.How can I get my divorce
Shelley - 9-Jun-19 @ 6:23 PM
my wife has a house with her ex, (not married) she wants out of the mortgage so we can move forward. How do we get her name off the mortgage?
Lawrence Ham - 21-May-19 @ 10:10 PM
Hi there I have a slight problem with my partner we always angry with each other we live in the same house but not as partner I want to get out of there I want to sell house or I want him to buy me out he said no neverplz help me can I sell house with out his concent tell thecourt to pay his half when they sell the property
Tara - 13-May-19 @ 3:14 PM
Hi there I have a slight problem my ex partner and I didn't get along together he used to take money off me cash and pay thorough his account we put our house on sale while ago he broke the sale board he didn't provide for kids or pay any bill in the house I cant live with him i want to sell my house or he can buy me out but he said just dream never goin happen plzan you advise e me if Ian sell with out his concentration pay his share
Tara - 13-May-19 @ 3:10 PM
Hi, I recently brought a house with my now ex partner.As I already own 2 properties we used the sale of her old martial home as the deposit.To ensure her deposit was always safe I advised her to put a declaration of trust in place, in the case we did split, she would automatically receive this back.I did this as she has 3 children from her marriage, and regardless, I wanted to ensure if anything should happen they would always have this money if anything went wrong.I really didn’t foresee us splitting up, but we did, after only 2 weeks of owning the home.We have a joint tenants mortgage, 50:50 in place.My ex kicked me out of the house and would not allow me to take some of my personal items that I brought from my previous house to furnish the new.She has also informed me that i will have to pay a larger portion of the mortgage, its currently £1100 pcm and she expects me to pay most of this.I have told her i am financially unable to do this as I have other bills.She works, receives child benefit, child maintenance and is now re-applying for her working tax credits.I have offered to pay some towards the mortgage, £300 but she is refusing.She said she would not pay the mortgage and i would get a poor credit score, and she would be ok as she has her £70k.I have tired to inform her this is not the case and we must keep paying the mortgage or sell the house.She said no judge or court in the land would force a sale as she has children. I don't want to sun settle the children, they mean a lot to me, i was with their mother for 2 years, and i am happy to pay my way, but, i will not pay most of the mortgage as I feel this is unjust and unfair.Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Gymbunny - 5-May-19 @ 8:08 AM
Hi, I recently brought a house with my now ex partner.As I already own 2 properties we used the sale of her old martial home as the deposit.To ensure her deposit was always safe I advised her to put a declaration of trust in place, in the case we did split, she would automatically receive this back.I did this as she has 3 children from her marriage, and regardless, I wanted to ensure if anything should happen they would always have this money if anything went wrong.I really didn’t foresee us splitting up, but we did, after only 2 weeks of owning the home.We have a joint tenants mortgage, 50:50 in place.My ex kicked me out of the house and would not allow me to take some of my personal items that I brought from my previous house to furnish the new.She has also informed me that i will have to pay a larger portion of the mortgage, its currently £1100 pcm and she expects me to pay most of this.I have told her i am financially unable to do this as I have other bills.She works, receives child benefit, child maintenance and is now re-applying for her working tax credits.I have offered to pay some towards the mortgage, £300 but she is refusing.She said she would not pay the mortgage and i would get a poor credit score, and she would be ok as she has her £70k.I have tired to inform her this is not the case and we must keep paying the mortgage or sell the house.She said no judge or court in the land would force a sale as she has children. I don't want to sun settle the children, they mean a lot to me, i was with their mother for 2 years, and i am happy to pay my way, but, i will not pay most of the mortgage as I feel this is unjust and unfair.Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Gymbunny - 5-May-19 @ 8:06 AM
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Latest Comments
  • Rob
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I have been living with my partner, my son and her daughter for three years. I also have two daughters from a previous…
    18 January 2020
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    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, I've been with my partner for 16 years, married for 8. We got a mortgage 13 years ago and now have 2 children 6 and 8.weve…
    18 January 2020
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    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
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    15 January 2020
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