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Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 18 Nov 2017 | 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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Mine and my partners names are both on the house deeds and we jointly own the mortgage. He has always paid the mortgage whilst I have paid the bills (that was the agreement since the start). Since we split we decided to sell the house and without my knowledge, he decreased the asking price by £10k and then accepted an offer without my knowledge at a total of £15k below the original asking price. Do I have a case against him and/or the letting agency who were aware of the negative situation between us and told to contact us both with any change.
FlatChop - 18-Nov-17 @ 3:43 PM
MB - Your Question:
I'm in a civil partnership and we own a flat with a 30/70 percent split in my partner's favour. We are separating, and he has gone ahead and put the flat on the market. Firstly, no one has approached me and asked for my permission to put it on the market; secondly, my partner says I will get nothing from the sale. The mortgage payments have been coming out of his account, and I have been paying him £300 a month (amounting to £12k since we bought the flat). Can I assume that the sale cannot go through without my permission and getting the 30% split?

Our Response:
We assume both names are on the deeds and that you have a record of your payment? If so, then you should receive 30% of whatever equity is released from a sale of the property.
RecentlySeparated - 17-Nov-17 @ 3:18 PM
I'm in a civil partnership and we own a flat with a 30/70 percent split in my partner's favour. We are separating, and he has gone ahead and put the flat on the market. Firstly, no one has approached me and asked for my permission to put it on the market; secondly, my partner says I will get nothing from the sale. The mortgage payments have been coming out of his account, and I have been paying him £300 a month (amounting to £12k since we bought the flat). Can I assume that the sale cannot go through without my permission and getting the 30% split?
MB - 16-Nov-17 @ 9:17 PM
Hi, I have been Divorced for 20 years. My ex husbands name is still on the deeds. He never paid the mortgage I did.By working very hard and bringing our four daughters.I want to sell the house now.Can I do this with his verbal consent? S
Mudge - 11-Nov-17 @ 10:55 AM
Teajay - Your Question:
I am divorced after being separated for over 10 years. when I left the marital home it was agreed that the house would be sold once my children were over 18.they are both way over 18 now and despite sending solicitors letters (costing me around £300.00) my ex refused to reply or respond to the mediation service. my solicitor then advised me that the next steps could be expensive anywhere between £4000.00 to £8000.00 as I explained to him at the start of the process, I am not a wealthy man, so frustratingly I could not continue with any actions. PLEASE HELP!

Our Response:
Find out how much it would cost to apply directly to court (without legal representation)...it might be less expensive than using a solicitor. Do you have any evidence/documentation as proof of the agreement?
RecentlySeparated - 7-Nov-17 @ 12:20 PM
I am divorced after being separated for over 10 years. when i left the marital home it was agreed that the house would be sold once my children were over 18.they are both way over 18 now and despite sending solicitors letters (costing me around £300.00) my ex refused to reply or respond to the mediation service. my solicitor then advised me that the next steps could be expensive anywhere between £4000.00 to £8000.00 as i explained to him at the start of the process, i am not a wealthy man, so frustratingly i could not continue with any actions... PLEASE HELP!
Teajay - 1-Nov-17 @ 2:59 PM
Klm2 - Your Question:
Hi I have lived with my now ex partner for 8 years. we have a joint mortgage however his parents paid the 20 grand deposit and the mortgage payments have always came out of his account as I fefuse to give him any money due to the fact he is a massive gambler and if I gave him money our 2 children would go without. I have always provided for the children and he has (sometimes) paid bills and (sometimes) not where his parents has bailed us out. but now he is refusing to sell the house with possible profit of 40 grand as he doesnt want to give me anything? Will profit be split or will I leave with nothing thankyou

Our Response:
You should try mediation to work out a financial arrangement. If you have evidence that you provided for the children and were the major carer during your time together, you should be able to work something out that is fair to you. If mediation is unsusccessful, you may be force to take it to the courts where all your circumstances will be considered and the judge will decide whether/how the house should be sold etc.
RecentlySeparated - 24-Oct-17 @ 9:51 AM
Hi I have lived with my now ex partner for 8 years... we have a joint mortgage however his parents paid the 20 grand deposit and the mortgage payments have always came out of his account as i fefuse to give him any money due to the fact he is a massive gambler and if I gave him money our 2 children would go without... I have always provided for the children and he has (sometimes) paid bills and (sometimes) not where his parents has bailed us out... but now he is refusing to sell the house with possible profit of 40 grand as he doesnt want to give me anything? Will profit be split or will I leave with nothing thankyou
Klm2 - 21-Oct-17 @ 10:02 AM
Gbbara - Your Question:
Hi my fiance and I have a house together that her dad paid for us and now we are paying him back every month. I've only got 5% on the house, no reason why but yes that's all I have maybe because I don't really understand all this. She now wants to sell the house as were going on our separate ways. Can she sell the house without my permission please although I only have 5%Thank you

Our Response:
Whose name is the house in? Is your name on the deeds? Sorry there isn't really enough information for us to give individual advice. You'd be better advised to go and see a legal professional if you can, or Citizens' Advice.
RecentlySeparated - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:15 PM
Hi, I’ve recently separated, I stayed in the house paying the joint mortgage. Since I was paying the mortgage I stilled payed child maintenance but I led to believe that I shouldn’t of, is that right? do I have a claim to get that money back or not once the house is sold and the proceeds split? Also once I have sold the house and split the proceeds can I get another mortgage with someone else without my wife being able to get any proceeds out of my new mortgage when I finally get a divorce?
Rubber head - 4-Oct-17 @ 2:47 PM
Hi my fiance and i have a house together that her dad paid for us and now we are paying him back every month. I've only got 5% on the house, no reason why but yes that's all i have maybe because i don't really understand all this.She now wants to sell the house as were going on our separate ways. Can she sell the house without my permission please although i only have 5% Thank you
Gbbara - 4-Oct-17 @ 1:24 PM
Blue - Your Question:
My son and girlfriend bought a house of which gifted them £6000 for the deposit. After 6 months she left, and has contributed nothing towards the costs. Upto then she had contributed one third due to her low income. At separation it was agreed he would pay her £3000 for her grandparents gift for furnishings. The equity in the property has now reached £20000 on the property and now wants half. With cost of sale the equity would be £11000 and she would be entitled to half apparently. We have offered her £5500 and she has refused, obviously wanting half the proceeds and my son losing the house into the bargain out of spite. Is she entitled to do this or do we have any other recourse

Our Response:
You should try mediation and then the courts to get this resolved. The courts will look at all the circumstances and will consider how much each party has contributed etc.
RecentlySeparated - 19-Sep-17 @ 2:03 PM
My son and girlfriend bought a house of which gifted them £6000 for the deposit. After 6 months she left, and has contributed nothing towards the costs. Upto then she had contributed one third due to her low income. At separation it was agreed he would pay her £3000 for her grandparents gift for furnishings. The equity in the property has now reached £20000 on the property and now wants half. With cost of sale the equity would be £11000 and she would be entitled to half apparently. We have offered her £5500 and she has refused, obviously wanting half the proceeds and my son losing the house into the bargain out of spite. Is she entitled to do this or do we have any other recourse
Blue - 18-Sep-17 @ 12:10 PM
ki - Your Question:
Recently split with partner of 10 years. We have 2 children (2 and 7) and a house we bought 2 and a half years ago. He wants to sell the house where as I want to stay because it's near school and I work from home while looking after our toddler full-time. I can't have the mortgage only in my name because I am self employed (just over 2 years) and don't make enough yet to have the mortgage just in my name. Can I have a guarantor so I can have the mortgage in just my name until I get my books up? Or is there a law where he has to stay on the mortgage until the kids are 18 but I pay the mortgage and bills etc. he just pays maintenance for the kids?Also the police are involved because he has made threats to kill me if I leave him because he still wants to be with me even though he cheats all the time (he openly admits and I have proof), he has sent videos of me breastfeeding our son to a women in a sexual way, and he verbally abuses me daily in-front of our children. He also keeps following me and trying to get in the house. The police told me to change the locks so I have and now he keeps jumping the garden wall to try and get in incase the backdoor is unlocked if the kids are playing in the garden. I want a peaceful split but he wants a fight. I still want him in his kids life as-long as he doesn't tell them anything to hurt them and he can be a good Da to them. I'm worried he can take the house. HELP

Our Response:
You need to get an independent third party to arbitrate and help you to negotiate an agreement for financial arrangements and contact with the children. You can find a list of mediation services here. If that is unsuccessful, you may have to resort to the courts.
RecentlySeparated - 18-Sep-17 @ 10:21 AM
Recently split with partner of 10 years. We have 2 children (2 and 7) and a house we bought 2 and a half years ago. He wants to sell the house where as I want to stay because it's near school and I work from home while looking after our toddler full-time. I can't have the mortgage only in my name because I am self employed (just over 2 years) and don't make enough yet to have the mortgage just in my name. Can I have a guarantor so I can have the mortgage in just my name until I get my books up? Or is there a law where he has to stay on the mortgage until the kids are 18 but I pay the mortgage and bills etc... he just pays maintenance for the kids? Also the police are involved because he has made threats to kill me if I leave him because he still wants to be with me even though he cheats all the time (he openly admits and I have proof), he has sent videos of me breastfeeding our son to a women in a sexual way, and he verbally abuses me daily in-front of our children. He also keeps following me and trying to get in the house. The police told me to change the locks so I have and now he keeps jumping the garden wall to try and get in incase the backdoor is unlocked if the kids are playing in the garden. I want a peaceful split but he wants a fight. I still want him in his kids life as-long as he doesn't tell them anything to hurt them and he can be a good Da to them. I'm worried he can take the house.. HELP
ki - 14-Sep-17 @ 12:04 PM
I bought a house with an ex 10 years ago, he left after 7 months and has paid nothing since, he also took out a joint loan of 30k which he also walked away from and I have maintained the payments. I have tried for years to get him to hand the house over but he has been obstructive and unwilling.I decided to take this to court myself as I cannot afford any more legal fees. although I have a very good chance of winning at court, I am scared of him being entitled to half my house (we all know the law sucks at times) I have made him an offer which I can live with and this should be accepted this week. I will pay him the money then sell my house and move on with my live. my question is: as he is relinquishing all interest in the property for the money I am going to pay him, does that mean when I sell I don't need him to sign anything? I do not want to be in a situation where I pay him out then when I come to complete he messes up my sale by not responding, anyone know the answer?
lucky - 29-Aug-17 @ 3:26 PM
my daughter left her boyfriend 7 years ago and their child lives with her. They had bought a house thanks to her deposit and now she would like to sell this house so that she could buy an other one giving a good stability to her son who is on the autism spectrum. Unfortunatly he refuses. What can she do ?
andre - 27-Aug-17 @ 8:31 AM
Hi Court hasn't been involved. My husband finally agreed to put house up for sale after several requests by me via solicitors because he couldn't afford mortgage payments and I couldn't afford to contribute having rent & other costs for children to cover. House sold and proceeds of sale have been held in trust until such times a settlement agreement can be reached. But my husband wants more than an equal share and because I refuse to agree to that, he has told me the money will remain tied up until I agree to giving him a larger sgare of proceeds. Obviously this is unfair and I don't want to back down - what can I do if he won't agree to settlement agreement (which I've proposed an equal share of proceeds).
Witsend - 23-Aug-17 @ 2:39 AM
Witsend - Your Question:
Husband refused to move out of family home, so I felt forced to move and rent with our 3 children - relationship was toxic.It took 2 years of me paying a solicitor to have him agree to sell house - which he had racked up thousands on arrears and we were being threatened with reposessionSale went through couple months ago and even though I paid the large deposit for property from proceeds of sale of my own home prior to marriage, I have tried to get him to settle with an equal split of these proceeds of sale.Because he was in property prior to sale he won't agree to equal split, he wants to recoup mortgage payments he made. Plus he wants money to pay family back that was gifted to him during our Marriage, dayingbthis was debt to repay.I'm sitting with debts I need to pay and I have money sitting in trust from proceeds of sale but because he won't agree on my fair settlement agreement, the funds won't be released to either party.I've paid thousands in legal costs to get to this stage - is there any way I can force the release of funds?If I raise court action I do have a special circumstances argument over the deposit I paid for this property but to take that to court will cost more that what we are arguing over!

Our Response:
Did the courts insist on sale of the house as part of a divorce settlement? If so, did they suggest any proceeds would be split equally between you? Sorry that's not been made clear.
RecentlySeparated - 22-Aug-17 @ 10:40 AM
Matt - Your Question:
Hi my wife walked out of our family home 5weejs ago leaving me and my 17 year old daughter. My daughter has a full two years left in education. My wife is saying that I have to sell the house. And we want to stay. What can I do

Our Response:
Unfortunately there are no set "rules" over who can remain in a property in the event of separation etc. However, if you want to give your daughter stability in the familiarity of her home, you should first consider mediation to help draw up an agreement. If this does not resolve things, you may have to apply to the courts to settle the issue.
RecentlySeparated - 21-Aug-17 @ 11:04 AM
Husband refused to move out of family home, so I felt forced to move and rent with our 3 children - relationship was toxic. It took 2 years of me paying a solicitor to have him agree to sell house - which he had racked up thousands on arrears and we were being threatened with reposession Sale went through couple months ago and even though I paid the large deposit for property from proceeds of sale of my own home prior to marriage, I have tried to get him to settle with an equal split of these proceeds of sale. Because he was in property prior to sale he won't agree to equal split, he wants to recoup mortgage payments he made. Plus he wants money to pay family back that was gifted to him during our Marriage, dayingbthis was debt to repay. I'm sitting with debts I need to pay and I have money sitting in trust from proceeds of sale but because he won't agree on my fair settlement agreement, the funds won't be released to either party. I've paid thousands in legal costs to get to this stage - is there any way I can force the release of funds? If I raise court action I do have a special circumstances argument over the deposit I paid for this property but to take that to court will cost more that what we are arguing over!
Witsend - 19-Aug-17 @ 9:46 AM
Hi my wife walked out of our family home 5weejs ago leaving me and my 17 year old daughter. My daughter has a full two years left in education. My wife is saying that I have to sell the house. And we want to stay. What can I do
Matt - 17-Aug-17 @ 11:36 AM
Bella - Your Question:
Hi my husband left me 6wks ago of his on accord. My sole name on title deeds. He wants money back from me for home improvementso he paid for. Only been married 2yrs. Please help

Our Response:
What did he pay for? Does he have details? Receipts? After only two years it seems unlikely this could amount to much unless you had a home extension and you didn't contribute toward it at all etc. Unfortunately you may have seek legal advice or see whether your ex is willing to take court action over it and then contest it there.
RecentlySeparated - 7-Aug-17 @ 2:25 PM
Hi my husband left me 6wks ago of his on accord. My sole name on title deeds. He wants money back from me for home improvementso he paid for. Only been married 2yrs. Please help
Bella - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:42 PM
Jen - Your Question:
Me and my ex split 9 yrs ago, we have a joint mortgage still as I couldn't afford to pay him off he has never made a payment towards the mortgage or towards our 2 children. He declared himself bankrupt in 2015 and his creditors are after a forced sale of my house where his children live. I have come to an arrangement with the creditors for a lump sum and they will give me his beneficial share of the house. What I need to know is can he run up debts again on my house and will he still need to sign if I sell later on even though he he'll have no beneficial interest in the house?thanks

Our Response:
If his name is still on the deeds we assume he can - but you should really try and seek some professional advice on this. Most solicitors offer a first half hour consulation free of charge.
RecentlySeparated - 16-Jun-17 @ 10:46 AM
Me and my ex split 9 yrs ago, we have a joint mortgage still as I couldn't afford to pay him off he has never made a payment towards the mortgage or towards our 2 children.He declared himself bankrupt in 2015 and his creditors are after a forced sale of my house where his children live.I have come to an arrangement with the creditors for a lump sum and they will give me his beneficial share of the house.What I need to know is can he run up debts again on my house and will he still need to sign if I sell later on even though he he'll have no beneficial interest in the house? thanks
Jen - 13-Jun-17 @ 3:42 PM
Hi currently have a joint mortgage with my partner but we have split up and she is engaged to someone else. She paid the £15000 deposit but during the last three years I was left money from a family member who died of £30000 and I used that to pay off the mortgage. My question is that when we sell are we both entitled to a 50/50 split. The reason I ask is she seems to think I am not entitled to any part of her £15000 deposit but she is entitled to half of the £30000 I used to pay off the mortgage? I am man quite happy to split everything 50/50 but she seems to think she is entitled to more than me, is she correct? Thanks for your help.
Jointmortagehelp - 31-May-17 @ 2:01 PM
My ex partner met someone else, left the family home with our 2 children almost 8 months ago. I've had enough of receiving threats of violence from her & said partner so I've decided to sell up (she agreed to this) she signed all the conveyancing papers and not when its come to the final few forms she's refusing to play ball. I payed ALL the £10,000 deposit, and every morrgage payment and bill the time we have lived here. I've said that I'm willing to split the proceedings with her but want the payments I've made since she left on my share. The problems started when she assumed that it wasn't fair She had to pay half the solicitors & agency fees (even though it would come out of the proceedings and not her pocket) She does not want to live at the property and expressed a desire to sell for a while until now obviously. What can i do to make sure this sale gets completed as she is purely doing this to make my life as difficult as possible and for me. ANY advice would be welcome as I feel stuck at the moment.
Abu - 30-May-17 @ 8:42 PM
Twizzle - Your Question:
My in laws jointly own a property unfortunately my father in law has dementia, has no mental capacity and is in a care home. My mother on law needs to sell the house as its too big and expensive to run on her own. Can she sell without additional legal fees as father in law no longer has mental capacity? What additional hoops are there to go through if any? Thanks in anticipation.

Our Response:
What additional legal fees? Sorry it's not clear what you're asking. Your mother in law should apply for power of attorney so she can make decisions on your father in law's behalf.
RecentlySeparated - 30-May-17 @ 11:11 AM
My in laws jointly own a property unfortunately my father in law has dementia, has no mental capacity and is in a care home. My mother on law needs to sell the house as its too big and expensive to run on her own. Can she sell without additional legal fees as father in law no longer has mental capacity? What additional hoops are there to go through if any? Thanks in anticipation.
Twizzle - 27-May-17 @ 11:57 AM
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Latest Comments
  • FlatChop
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Mine and my partners names are both on the house deeds and we jointly own the mortgage. He has always paid the mortgage whilst I…
    18 November 2017
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    MB - Your Question:I'm in a civil partnership and we own a flat with a 30/70 percent split in my partner's favour. We are…
    17 November 2017
  • Mudge
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, I have been Divorced for 20 years. My ex husbands name is still on the deeds. He never paid the mortgage I did. By working…
    11 November 2017
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Teajay - Your Question:I am divorced after being separated for over 10 years. when I left the marital home it was agreed that…
    7 November 2017
  • Teajay
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I am divorced after being separated for over 10 years. when i left the marital home it was agreed that the house would be sold…
    1 November 2017
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Klm2 - Your Question:Hi I have lived with my now ex partner for 8 years. we have a joint mortgage however his parents paid the…
    24 October 2017
  • Klm2
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi I have lived with my now ex partner for 8 years... we have a joint mortgage however his parents paid the 20 grand deposit and…
    21 October 2017
  • Cheri
    Re: Dating Again if You Have Children
    I am dating a man who has a 13 year old daughter. He ex told him he should not be dating because she is afraid it will hurt…
    17 October 2017
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Gbbara - Your Question:Hi my fiance and I have a house together that her dad paid for us and now we are paying him back every…
    4 October 2017
  • Rubber head
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi, I’ve recently separated, I stayed in the house paying the joint mortgage. Since I was paying the mortgage I stilled payed…
    4 October 2017
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