Home > Housing > Selling the Jointly Owned Home

Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 13 Jun 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.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
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
Yax - Your Question:
Hi. my wife left 7 years ago and I kept house in our joint name. my daughter stays 2/3 nights a week. and I also give my ex money each week. we got the house at a reduced rate of 20g from her family member. we want to sell the house now but she wants 20g from the profit and half of the remaining profit. is this fare seeing as ive payed the mortgage for 7 years. and there was no agreement that she would get extra when we bought house. Thanks in advance

Our Response:
We can't really comment anything as individual as this. It's probably better to seek mediation or to ask a judge to decide in a court.
RecentlySeparated - 18-May-17 @ 2:36 PM
Hi.I split with my boyfriend 2years ago.I stay in house as we have a daughter as i havent where to go.we bought this house together 5years ago.in january i finally move from there and i found flat to rent as it was be horrible be together under one roof as he didnt want to move away.now i pay lots of money for rent and he still live there for free as he renting out rooms.my problem is....i dont know what to do as he dont want sell house at all and as well he cant remorgtgage this house as his income is low so he doesnt have money how to pay me out.how it will works when i will take him to court?and how it will all takes?thank you for help...x
Michaela - 17-May-17 @ 8:45 PM
Hi.. my wife left 7 years ago and i kept house in our joint name.. my daughter stays 2/3 nights a week.. and i also give my ex money each week.. we got the house at a reduced rate of 20g from her family member.. we want to sell the house now but she wants 20g from the profit and half of the remaining profit.. is this fare seeing as ive payed the mortgage for 7 years.. and there was no agreement that she would get extra when we bought house. Thanks in advance
Yax - 17-May-17 @ 6:48 PM
T - Your Question:
My wife left me and my 3 boys and took off to America to live with a guy she met online. I have only just received a letter from her this year saying she doesn't want anything to do with the house or finances si that I can sell the house. We don't hear from her and she doesn't contact us and thus has been hard work. Now I've come to sell the house and the solicitor is telling me that she will need to sign a TR1 (transfer off the deed) but she's already clearly said she wants to come off the deed in the notarized letter I have. It's so much red tape and jumping through hoops and everything might crumble as she isn't responding to email (only don't act I have) and after 6 years of trying to make progress and look after the boys, I am so tired of hitting brick walls. Surely there is a process that will support me or I can get an emergency hearing in front if a judge. The house could be sold in the next two weeks if I can find a way to move this forward. Thank you for any input. It is needed. There has to be a positive way forward.

Our Response:
Get back on to your solicitor about this, surely if your ex is not responding to communication and has agreed to a house sale on paper the courts can enforce the issue?
RecentlySeparated - 15-May-17 @ 1:54 PM
My wife left me and my 3 boys and took off to America to live with a guy she met online. I have only just received a letter from her this year saying she doesn't want anything to do with the house or finances si that I can sell the house. We don't hear from her and she doesn't contact us and thus has been hard work. Now I've come to sell the house and the solicitor is telling me that she will need to sign a TR1 (transfer off the deed) but she's already clearly said she wants to come off the deed in the notarized letter I have. It's so much red tape and jumping through hoops and everything might crumble as she isn't responding to email (only don't act I have) and after 6 years of trying to make progress and look after the boys, I am so tired of hitting brick walls. Surely there is a process that will support me or I can get an emergency hearing in front if a judge. The house could be sold in the next two weeks if I can find a way to move this forward. Thank you for any input. It is needed. There has to be a positive way forward.
T - 12-May-17 @ 5:01 AM
Me, my daddy, my ex brought a home a one years ago in California. We are divorce 02/17. The house was on the market my ex took it off after 30days. Me & my daddy want to sell the house and move on. We have 2 kids in the house.we still live in the same house. I feel unsafe with him in the home... it was an abusive marriage..what are my options?? Please help I'm going crazy...
Ali - 30-Apr-17 @ 6:14 AM
Me and my ex partner bought a flat 12 years ago, after 3 years we split up and forcing me to leave the family home and go back to Scotland, I thought no more of it untill I just received paper work for the sale of the house that I have to sign? Saying i am on the deeds and nothing can be done without my signature, should I be entitled to some cash from the sale of the house?
Niks - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:43 AM
Hi. I have recently moved out of our married home that we have owned jointly for 12 years. My wife and 3 children still live there who are all above 16. I am now in rented accommodation. I dont really want my wife to sell the house which she plans to do asap. I cant afford to buy her out. Id like to keep ownership for a few years as property is increasing. Can i block her selling ? Thanks Pauly
Pauly - 20-Apr-17 @ 4:58 PM
Hassu - Your Question:
Hi I have a roperyy in joint names. Me n my ex divorce in 2014 I.i have been paying the mortgage since 2011. We have a agreement that when I sell the house he gets 20% he left the country in 2015. And is living there now he has got married. We have 3 children wich I have been looking after He has paid no maintenace since 2015. Or any other finace matters I have had repairs do e to the property. N paid for it myself. Just wondering if I still owe him the whole 20%

Our Response:
If this was part of the agreement you should really comply with it. The lack of maintenance payments should be dealt with separately. A court might be able to alter these arrangements or order him to pay?
RecentlySeparated - 19-Apr-17 @ 2:10 PM
Hi i have a roperyy in joint names. Me n my ex divorce in 2014 i .i have been paying the mortgage since 2011 . We have a agreement that when i sell the house he gets 20%he left the country in 2015.And is livingthere now he has got married. We have 3 children wich i have been looking after He has paid no maintenace since 2015. Or any other finace mattersi have had repairs do e to the property.N paid for it myself. Just wondering if i still owe him the whole 20%
Hassu - 17-Apr-17 @ 10:42 AM
My mum & step-father are going through a divorce proceedings and they own a house together - he currently lives in it. It has been on the market for over 2 years and they have just received an offer which is lower than the valuation but my mum is happy to accept but step-father is not. Where does she stand on this because with it being on the market for so long with no interest it is unlikely they will receive another offer anytime soon - let alone an offer he is willing to accept. There is no children involved so should be a straight forward 50/50 divorce but he is trying to halt things at every turn - do she just have to wait until an offer comes through he will accept (he wants the top end valuation)
BethB - 13-Apr-17 @ 1:24 PM
Shell - Your Question:
I have now been Divorced since April 2010, I am joint owner of a buy to let and also the marital home which my ex also lets out, I have seen no profit from the rentals and he has said I am entitled to nothing, I would like both houses sold now but I know he wouldn't agree to the sales because he is making a hefty profit, can I apply to the Court for a judge to decide, I am on benefits and had to sacrifice a lot to stay afloat while he is reaping all the rewards, I have no interest in the houses except to raise some money to put down on a place of my own.Can you Please give me any advice.Kind regardsShell

Our Response:
This depends on any financial arrangements you put in place at the time of divorce, there are often time limits on this. You might need to seek advice from a legal professional as you're still joint owner of these properties. Some solicitors will offer a free half hour first time consultation which might help.
RecentlySeparated - 12-Apr-17 @ 2:32 PM
We also had 2 other buy to lets during the marriage but sadly he forced me to sign them over to him, he is a property developer and also remarried, he hasn't given me any Divorce Settlement and I fear that the longer this goes on I will be forced to sign the other 2 properties over to him, he is financially sound and I am not nor have I been since my Divorce April 2010, Can he keep getting away with what he is doing to me financially and mentally, is it not a form of control ie abuse, the children are grown and in stable relationships, I would just like a place of my own again I can call a Home. He won't even acknowledge my textes or calls and I am desperate for some HELP. Kind regards Shell
Shell - 11-Apr-17 @ 2:40 PM
I have now been Divorced since April 2010, I am joint owner of a buy to let and also the marital home which my ex also lets out, I have seen no profit from the rentals and he has said I am entitled to nothing, I would like both houses sold now but I know he wouldn't agree to the sales because he is making a hefty profit, can I apply to the Court for a judge to decide, I am on benefits and had to sacrifice a lot to stay afloat while he is reaping all the rewards, I have no interest in the houses except to raise some money to put down on a place of my own. Can you Please give me any advice. Kind regards Shell
Shell - 11-Apr-17 @ 1:29 PM
Jacksy - Your Question:
My partner and I bought a house in sept as joint tenants, we have just recently split up but both still living in the house. His share of deposit was more than mine but I had paid for other things, solicitors, valuation, (2 houses as first fell through) removal costs, house insurance, he is now saying I did not pay towards the deposit, as we bought the house 50/50 joint tenants were do I stand if it goes to courts and I force him to sell, he doesn't want to sell because of redemption fee £7000? We did try to resolve but our differences are too much, he is very good at winning courts cases and I don't have the strength to fight him. Also solicitors fees will eat my deposit, he can't afford to take mortgage on his own and buy me out.

Our Response:
If you are 50/50 joint tenants, that is how the proceeds of any sale would be split. If your partner were to take this to the courts, they would take your other contributions towards the relationship into account. Joint tenant property however, can only be sold with consent from both joint tenants. As the other joint tenant (your partner) in this situation doesn't want to sell, you will need to "sever" the joint tenancy and then convert to a tenancy in common. You can then effectively compel your partner to be part of the the sale.
RecentlySeparated - 11-Apr-17 @ 10:08 AM
Maxwellfriday - Your Question:
60percent ownership of house,step daughters own40percent.My deceased husbands will states that I have full access to house and funds until my death when the 40/60will be divided to my children and step children.They are currently refusing to answer or agree with me selling current house and purchasing another. Their names were put on the house deeds following their fathers death.My solicitor has written to them,however no response.12.000 pounds was left over from the sale of the previous house which has been left in their solicitors account for the past. Four years,no interest at all from this sum.There is 2.500 deficit on my future house purchase which I had hoped could come from the 12.000 currently dead money in their solicitors account.Any help would be appreciated,especially as people want to move into my house now.

Our Response:
If the Will stated you have full access to the house and funds until your death can you not apply for a court order in the absence of any communication from the step children?
RecentlySeparated - 10-Apr-17 @ 11:57 AM
My partner and I bought a house in sept as joint tenants, we have just recently split up but both still living in the house. His share of deposit was more than mine but I had paid for other things, solicitors, valuation, (2 houses as first fell through) removal costs, house insurance, he is now saying I did not pay towards the deposit, as we bought the house 50/50 joint tenants were do I stand if it goes to courts and I force him to sell, he doesn't want to sell because of redemption fee £7000? We did try to resolve but our differences are too much, he is very good at winning courts cases and I don't have the strength to fight him. Also solicitors fees will eat my deposit,he can't afford to take mortgage on his own and buy me out.
Jacksy - 9-Apr-17 @ 2:49 AM
60percentownership of house,step daughters own40percent. My deceased husbands will states that I have full access to house and funds until my death when the 40/60will be divided to my children and step children. They are currently refusing to answer or agree with me selling current house and purchasing another. Their names were put on the house deedsfollowing their fathers death. My solicitor has written to them,however no response. 12.000 pounds was left over from the sale of the previous house which has been left in their solicitors account for the past. Four years,no interest at all from this sum. There is 2.500 deficit on my future house purchase which I had hoped could come from the 12.000 currently dead money in their solicitors account. Any help would be appreciated,especially as people want to move into my house now.
Maxwellfriday - 7-Apr-17 @ 11:04 AM
My daughter walked out of house he was horrible joint owned now he is sitting good ,she isent allowed near house by police . Solicitors don't seem to help her dad payed the deposit . We're does she stand
Mand - 7-Apr-17 @ 12:57 AM
i sold my previous house when i met my ex partner and we(i) put money from this sale into my property i am now living in . mortgage is in both our names, i put £215.000 in to buy house and theres £52,000 left on mortgage . after 8 months he left , eventually remarried and i have no idea where he lives. i now have been paying mortgage interest) for 10yrs and i want to sell . i contacted him via social media and he wants nothing to do with house ( should think not i paid all equity) and agrees to me to sell and move . how do i go about this as his name is on mortgage but he agrees to coming off mortgage but my only contact is via e mail ?
debs 123 - 6-Apr-17 @ 2:35 PM
Rk - Your Question:
My civil-partner and I are going through a separation. We jointly own a property that we both agree to sell. However, due to maternity leave and being responsible for childcare, my contribution to the mortgage has been minimal. In addition, the deposit was paid from wedding gifts and savings. I'm worried that I will not be left with any money to buy a new home for me and 3 kids since I have significant debts to pay.

Our Response:
You should be entitled to half the proceeds of the sale. Despite not having paid as much to towards the mortgage, you have had a child, maternity leave etc as part of the partnership. You might want to see legal advice.
RecentlySeparated - 5-Apr-17 @ 12:34 PM
My civil-partner and I are going through a separation. We jointly own a property that we both agree to sell. However, due to maternity leave and being responsible for childcare, my contribution to the mortgage has been minimal. In addition, the deposit was paid from wedding gifts and savings. I'm worried that I will not be left with any money to buy a new home for me and 3 kids since I have significant debts to pay.
Rk - 4-Apr-17 @ 10:07 AM
Gemthmp - Your Question:
Me and my ex husband bought house in 2007 we got 100 percent mortgage. In 2009 we seperated and my ex moved out leaving me with all debts. I went into an iva and finished paying this last year. I have now decided to put the house on the market but my ex is regusing to agree. Where do I stand I need to move on as I now have a little boy and need a bigger property. My ex has stated that if he does agree he will be fighting for 50 percent if not more. He isnt being very nice. I can prove that I have paid mortgage since 2007 would this go for me? Is court a lengthy process?

Our Response:
If you have been paying the mortgage yourself for the length of time you've been separated, it's likely that a court will rule that you receive a majority share of any equity, the courts could also force a sale on the grounds that you're now divorced.
RecentlySeparated - 24-Mar-17 @ 1:43 PM
MrsB- Your Question:
I bought a house with my ex partner in 2005, the house is held as tenants in common. In 2009 we split up, I left the house and told him he could keep it and it's contents, the only thing I asked is that he remortgaged it into his own name and if he couldn't the house should be sold, again I said he could keep any profit as I was just happy to out of thhe relationship that I didn't care about money.I gave him two years to try get a mortgage alone but he couldn't even though he was paying for the house by himself so it was agreed the house would go on the market, we have had four offers from a guy who owns the one one next door £10k below the asking price but my ex won't accept it.My dad has recently retired and has offered to buy the house from us as a rental investment but my ex has told my dad he is trying to get a mortgage again and doesn't want to sell it.Over the last 8 years I have queried his plans for the house and his story changes every time from I want to try get a mortgage to I want to sell, I don't know where I stand and I feel it's just delaying tactics.I still don't want any money from the house even though there is now a significant amount of equity in the house, I just want my name off the mortgage and to loose the tie because iv now married and moved on. I want to avoid going to court and I feel iv been quite fair but it just seems like he is taking advantage. I just want my name removed as it effects what I can borrow myself. He lives at the house with his girlfriend of four years and her daughter.If I had to go to court I would be looking to recover my legal expenses from any sale but that's it, he can keep the rest of the money, I don't want it.

Our Response:
If you're unwilling to go to court, perhaps you could contact the mortgage provider yourself to see if they can advise you? They may be able to force a sale if your ex can't get a mortgage himself.
RecentlySeparated - 22-Mar-17 @ 10:27 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the RecentlySeparated website. Please read our Disclaimer.