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Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 14 Aug 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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[Add a Comment]
Harry - Your Question:
I was married for 16 years and now divorced. We have 2 children under 18. My wife has since remarried and still lives in our house. Am I now entitled to force her to sell for a 50/50 split now she is married?

Our Response:
Are you joint owner of the property?
RecentlySeparated - 15-Aug-18 @ 11:29 AM
Mandingo - Your Question:
Need help me and my husband brought our house between us I have put more in property then he has. He was sent to prison last year for 7 years I have been looking after paying bills and maintain property hence getting into debt as I don't work I have suggested selling house but he's playing awkward as I have moved on ummmm is there any sort of advice I could have please

Our Response:
We can't advise on personal financial issues, but if you need to sell because of financial difficulties you could get an order of sale. You would need professional legal advice really but Citizens' Advice might be able to help.
RecentlySeparated - 15-Aug-18 @ 11:15 AM
I was married for 16 years and now divorced. We have 2 children under 18. My wife has since remarried and still lives in our house. Am I now entitled to force her to sell for a 50/50 split now she is married?
Harry - 14-Aug-18 @ 5:11 PM
Need help me and my husband brought our house between us I have put more in property then he has. He was sent to prison last year for 7 years I have been looking after paying bills and maintain property hence getting into debt as I don't work I have suggested selling house but he's playing awkward as I have moved on ummmm is there any sort of advice I could have please
Mandingo - 14-Aug-18 @ 2:50 PM
Aspen - Your Question:
Hi I would like to know how it works when you have children do you still sell the house 50/50

Our Response:
If you can't agree a 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 etc
RecentlySeparated - 14-Aug-18 @ 2:28 PM
Curly - Your Question:
Hi I am on a joint morgage with my ex we split 10yrs ago she rented the house out to someone she knew they still live in it now she stopped me in street to tell me she want's my name off and the papers are coming for me to sign there are no children involved and I wasn't married to her do I have any rights

Our Response:
Yes if you have a joint mortgage, we assume your name is on the deeds, you entitled to a say in anything that happens to the property. Your ex could choose to buy you out of the mortgage or you could force a sale and split any equity between you. You should seek professional advice on this, but Citizens' Advice will be able to refer you locally.
RecentlySeparated - 13-Aug-18 @ 1:56 PM
Hi i am on a joint morgage with my ex we split 10yrs ago she rented the house out to someone she knew they still live in it now she stopped me in street to tell me she want's my name off and the papers are coming for me to sign there are no children involved and I wasn't married to her do I have any rights
Curly - 13-Aug-18 @ 2:16 AM
Mark - Your Question:
My partner has decided she no longer wants to be with me. We have a mortgage on our house and we have lived there for two years. The mortgage is in both our names. We also have a 3 year old girl. My partner has now told me she no longer wants me to live at my house so iv had to stay at a friends house. He has no room for me and iv been staying in his couch the last week. I want to sell the family home so we could both walk away with money for another property. She is refusing to do this. Where do I stand with this? Could I force the sale of the house

Our Response:
You need to come to an agreement - if you can't do this, you could use mediation/collaborative law to try and reach a solution that both parties find acceptable. If that fails, you may have to apply to court.
RecentlySeparated - 8-Aug-18 @ 2:31 PM
My partner has decided she no longer wants to be with me. We have a mortgage on our house and we have lived there for two years. The mortgage is in both our names. We also have a 3 year old girl. My partner has now told me she no longer wants me to live at my house so iv had to stay at a friends house. He has no room for me and iv been staying in his couch the last week. I want to sell the family home so we could both walk away with money for another property. She is refusing to do this. Where do I stand with this? Could I force the sale of the house
Mark - 7-Aug-18 @ 1:01 PM
Cstocken - Your Question:
Me and wife brought our home this January and spent alot doing it. We have now split and I want a divorce and for the house to be sold. But she adiment she won't sell we also have kids in the house. She can't afford the mortgage as she only works part time on a crap wage. What do I do

Our Response:
A mediator may help you come to some agreement. If you are sharing contact with the children, it's important to have two homes so if you took it to court a judge may order a sale, this will depend on your other circumstances.
RecentlySeparated - 6-Aug-18 @ 11:29 AM
Nomer - Your Question:
I own a property 50/50 with my ex.I paid all the deposit (25k) and have paid a minimum of 50% of the mortgage payments.She lives there with my kids and I have paid 50% of the mortgage since I moved out.She paid about 8k for some work on the house and has also redecorated.I am having to pay £6k to correct the work previously done, which she says she can’t contribute to.Given the expense (6k) I have suggested that we just work out who has spent what over time, then split the equity later - eg 52/48. She refuses to accept this.Would it stand up in court to claim back my deposit / additional money spent?

Our Response:
We can't really say, as we do not have all the information about your circumstances. A judge/magistrate would decide if you took it to court.
RecentlySeparated - 6-Aug-18 @ 11:22 AM
Me and wife brought our home this January and spent alot doing it. We have now split and I want a divorce and for the house to be sold. But she adiment she won't sell we also have kids in the house. She can't afford the mortgage as she only works part time on a crap wage. What do I do
Cstocken - 3-Aug-18 @ 6:38 PM
I own a property 50/50 with my ex. I paid all the deposit (25k) and have paid a minimum of 50% of the mortgage payments. She lives there with my kids and I have paid 50% of the mortgage since I moved out. She paid about 8k for some work on the house and has also redecorated. I am having to pay £6k to correct the work previously done, which she says she can’t contribute to. Given the expense (6k) I have suggested that we just work out who has spent what over time, then split the equity later - eg 52/48. She refuses to accept this. Would it stand up in court to claim back my deposit / additional money spent?
Nomer - 3-Aug-18 @ 5:58 PM
Hi i would like to know how it works when you have children do you still sell the house 50/50
Aspen - 2-Aug-18 @ 12:03 PM
I'm currently in the process of splitting from my wife and looking at selling our house but not sure what legal grounds there are about the money after selling the house.We've been marriade 5 and had a mortgage on the house for 4 years.My wife paid a 30% deposit for the house however since day one of the mortgage, I have paid most bills including each mortgage payment.We have a 2 year old daughter who will be livving me 3 nights a week and other nights with my wife.After selling the house would the money be a 50/50 split or would my wife be entitled to half the sell of the house plus the 30% deposit?There was no legal document created for the deposit in the event of separation.
scott36 - 29-Jul-18 @ 6:00 PM
My partner and I of 15 years bought house together, we both paid £40,000 EACH as deposit. We sold that house a year ago and bought a smaller house outright. No mortgage. Both names on title deeds. I have Fibromyalgia and haven't worked for some time. No benefits claimed. He wants to sell this house and split up. Will I receive half of the proceeds? He says he's only giving me what I put in 15 years ago. Please help.
Kate - 28-Jul-18 @ 3:20 PM
My partner and I bought a house together last summer.We broke up earlier this year but stayed living together (in separate rooms) because our young dog became very ill.Sadly, despite 3 months of vet trips, we were unable to save her and, on top of the almost unbearable grief, I've wracked up a fairly sizable debt paying vet bills.My partner wants to leave now.My parents have agreed to pay her half the equity in the property and I can take over sole payment for all the bills.She's refusing because she wants her name off the mortgage.Despite intending to stay with her parents for the next 2 years.We're only 1 year into a 3 year fixed deal so will be fined heavily for breaking that contract and that, on top of the credit cards I've maxed out because of vet bills, will sink me.Is there anything I can do?I just want to see out the fixed contract there then I'd be happy to sell.
Andy - 25-Jul-18 @ 2:13 PM
i have been divorced for over 5 years now and still the ex who lives in the house has dragged her feet at selling the house. I moved into it at the beginning of the relationship 9 years prior to our divorce and she made me add my name to the deeds. The mortgaged is high and thus she cannot buy be out and i cannot buy myself out of it either. i am not interested in anything from the sale even though i agreed to 20% and it is just a matter of getting my name off the mortgage so i can buy my own. I found out that recently she has gotten engaged and i am led to believe that should she get married i would be entitled to half of his as well as the my marital house should i be inclined to go that route. I really need to know if there is any other route to force her to get the house sold in order to get me off the mortgage. my solicitor has not been at all helpful and i am now wanting to move on with my own home now that i am settled with my new job. Can you help?
AJ - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:34 AM
Have recently found out my partner has cheated and are separated. We have a mortgage which I placed a large deposit. I have a child who is 5 years old and a step child who is 15 years old. We are not married and have been together for 7 years. I have no family in the area. So I am having to stay in the family home. Unable to move out due to having to pay the mortgage. My partner works part time. So if I did move out would be unable to pay the mortgage. What are my rights? Can I force a sale?
Dj - 16-Jul-18 @ 1:03 AM
Looking for some help and advice. About 10 years ago me and wife bought a property with her mum and husband. We have a one third share between us both. My wife and i have recently decided to separate however i am unsure where this puts me in terms of the house. My wife won’t be able to afford living there however could with support from her mum and step-dad. What are my options? I am sure her mum and partner won’t want to sell. However for me to move out and buy again i need some of my money out of the house.
Andrew Binns - 14-Jul-18 @ 6:33 PM
if you are comenlaw and had joint ownerchip of a house and your partner sells his halve to you with a lawyer in case somthing will happen to him and it is registert in court that i am now the sole owner can he leagaly still have a claim against the house we are not seperated but he is 98 and in a nursing home he sold his halve to me 5 years a go
zoe - 14-Jul-18 @ 4:02 PM
224561 - Your Question:
My Sister and her boyfriend have brought a house 50/50 but recently separated she wants to sell but he does not and is prolonging the process. Where does she stand in all this, she is not living in the property but continues to pay rent and council tax.

Our Response:
They will need to resolve this between them, if necessary involving the courts and the creation of a separation agreement/order of sale.
RecentlySeparated - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:51 PM
My Sister and her boyfriend have brought a house 50/50 but recently separated she wants to sell but he does not and is prolonging the process. Where does she stand in all this, she is not living in the property but continues to pay rent and council tax.
224561 - 2-Jul-18 @ 4:16 PM
DEE - Your Question:
Hi there My partner and his brother were both left a house when their parents passed away. My partner has his own house but his brother resides in his parents house. My partner wants to sell so he can get his share of the money as his brother is not looking after the house and its starting to show significant structure issues which will decreasethe value of the property. His brother is refusing to sell. What rights does my partner have and what can he do? he does have sole beneficiary.

Our Response:
They will have to come to some agreement between themselves. If they can't reach an agreement it might be necessary to apply to the courts for an order of sale.
RecentlySeparated - 26-Jun-18 @ 1:03 PM
Hi there My partner and his brother were both left a house when their parents passed away. My partner has his own house but his brother resides in his parents house. My partner wants to sell so he can get his share of the money as his brother is not looking after the house and its starting to show significant structure issues which will decrease the value of the property. His brother is refusing to sell. What rights does my partner have and what can he do? he does have sole beneficiary.
DEE - 25-Jun-18 @ 4:18 PM
Hi We took out a joint mortgage 17 years agoI was made bankrupt 10 years ago shortly after we split up because I could not get on with her son I moved on Bout a year later she come to live Mitch me and rented the house out we are once again split up with no chance of getting back together so now she wants to sell the house but she is saying there is a block on the house from the creditors but there was never a court case for a block to be put on the house I spoke with citizen advice who advised me there would have to be a court case and only a Judge could decide to put anything on the house can I have your advice Regards Picky
Picky - 19-Jun-18 @ 7:28 PM
This is on behalf of my son, him and his partner have separate 2 years ago his exs live with my Granddaughter in a other town, my son put £ 7000 deposit she£1000 my son as paid the Mortgage from day one on his own paying her£310 a month child benefit, can you please tell me if he as to give her 50% of what he will get out of the sale of the house.
Fudge - 13-Jun-18 @ 10:39 PM
Hi, I separated for my husband 6 years ago (but still not divorced) he moved out and I stayed in the home we bought together. He is still on the mortgage.. But now I am wanting to sell. I have 3children and he has never contributed to the mortgage since we have split up. I have also put a lot money into the house since we split - new kitchen., bathroom etc. Can he stop me selling or if I sell will he be entitled to any profit? Thanks
Pippa - 12-Jun-18 @ 8:41 AM
Mr muscle - Your Question:
Have got a lady freind who I’ve known for years and husband has just recently been arrested as fractured her jaw.not been charged.not allowed anywhere near me and im not allowed anywhere near him.few weeks ago she told him she doesn’t love him and have a mortgage with him.he has tried committing suede with his diabetic insulin.over dosing as can’t accept it’s all over.all he wants to do is die.got to sell the house get half and half.he’s already said that he’s wants to stop paying the mortgage.she doesn’t work as amputee and so is her husband and he also suffers mental health issues.he basically said that he is going to let go into repossession and she won’t get nothing, where as she wants her half.she is seeking solicitors advice.he is very manipulative and controlling and does everything with his fist as has anger issues.Have you any advice on this as need to get him sign mortgage over and don’t even know where he is.

Our Response:
This is really one for a legal professional unfortunately, especially as your friend will need to communicate with her husband via a third party.
RecentlySeparated - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:45 AM
Have got a lady freind who I’ve known for years and husband has just recently been arrested as fractured her jaw...not been charged...not allowed anywhere near me and im not allowed anywhere near him...few weeks ago she told him she doesn’t love him and have a mortgage with him....he has tried committing suede with his diabetic insulin..over dosing as can’t accept it’s all over...all he wants to do is die.....got to sell the house get half and half....he’s already said that he’s wants to stop paying the mortgage...she doesn’t work as amputee and so is her husband and he also suffers mental health issues.....he basically said that he is going to let go into repossession and she won’t get nothing, where as she wants her half...she is seeking solicitors advice...he is very manipulative and controlling and does everything with his fist as has anger issues... Have you any advice on this as need to get him sign mortgage over and don’t even know where he is...
Mr muscle - 8-Jun-18 @ 7:38 AM
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Latest Comments
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Harry - Your Question:I was married for 16 years and now divorced. We have 2 children under 18. My wife has since remarried and…
    15 August 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Mandingo - Your Question:Need help me and my husband brought our house between us I have put more in property then he has. He…
    15 August 2018
  • Harry
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    I was married for 16 years and now divorced. We have 2 children under 18. My wife has since remarried and still lives in our…
    14 August 2018
  • Mandingo
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Need help me and my husband brought our house between us I have put more in property then he has. He was sent to prison last…
    14 August 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Aspen - Your Question:Hi I would like to know how it works when you have children do you still sell the house 50/50
    14 August 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Curly - Your Question:Hi I am on a joint morgage with my ex we split 10yrs ago she rented the house out to someone she knew they…
    13 August 2018
  • Curly
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Hi i am on a joint morgage with my ex we split 10yrs ago she rented the house out to someone she knew they still live in it now…
    13 August 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Mark - Your Question:My partner has decided she no longer wants to be with me. We have a mortgage on our house and we have lived…
    8 August 2018
  • Mark
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    My partner has decided she no longer wants to be with me. We have a mortgage on our house and we have lived there for two years.…
    7 August 2018
  • RecentlySeparated
    Re: Selling the Jointly Owned Home
    Cstocken - Your Question:Me and wife brought our home this January and spent alot doing it. We have now split and I want a…
    6 August 2018