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Selling the Jointly Owned Home

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 17 Nov 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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My partner has decided he no longer wants to be in our relationship. We joint own our property and I am not sure if I have a legal timescale to put the house on the market. He has already processed and moved on but I am still coming to terms with my loss. I have requested that I will be willing to put the house on the market in spring or by 01/03/2019 ( he has already moved out) can he force me to put it on the market earlier or am I been realistic to hold off till March and when emotions have subsided.
MJ - 17-Nov-18 @ 5:32 PM
Hi I am on a joint mortgage with my Husband !! He left me in October 2018. He was caught cheating. He straight away started to say the house as to be sold. We don't have children together but we have a dog. I Really don't want to sell but I don't thing I earn enough to take the mortgage on !! Do you have any advice that would help me please.i am having trouble finding accommodation that is pet friendly !! Should I have to move out.
Dottie - 13-Nov-18 @ 10:41 AM
On 31 st August 2014, I purchased a house with my then partner (Not married!) of 7 years. Prior to purchase there was advice from my parents about putting in place some form of rudimentary ‘pre-nuptial agreement’ to cover the eventuality of a separation, however, at the time my ex, disagreed with the whole concept. So we proceeded without. We agreed to a 50:50 deal, where by my ex was put on to the deeds of the house. We were forced to acquire a ‘sub-prime’ mortgage, as my ex's credit rating was poor, due to pay day loans etc. I myself was and had always been the main bread winner (apart from a year where I was re-training to be a teacher) so in the interests of fairness I decided to share the equity with my partner, after all that is what I thought you should do in a long and committed relationship (hindsight is a wonderful thing).After several months of living at our joint house my ex decided that he no longer wanted to be with me. He had been seeing other men and spending long periods of time in London, stating that the journey was too long between the house and work. In March 2015, we official spilt. Initially this was amicable. I allowed My ex to live in my home for several months as he found a flat in London. I paid for the deposit for said flat on the agreement that he would transfer his half of the equity when the time came. At the time I was convinced that my ex and I would be able to repair our relationship, so I took him flat hunting, took him to work each day, paid for new business ventures (that did not pan out) and started to pay for the whole of the mortgage including all bills, life insurances and taxes, putting more support into my ex then was required in my diminished responsibility as a ‘friend’ now rather then a partner. We had appointed the solicitors that had assisted us in the purchase of the property to initiate the transfer of equity. My emailed them informing them that he did not want to seek any financial reimbursement for his half of the equity share in light of money already received. Unfortunately, I had been signed off from work due to mental health and stress related symptoms. My employer decided that they were not going to support me and; started the process of disciplinary, in the end I was dismissed for all intense and purposes. So I was not in a position to be able to take sole responsibility for the mortgage and; was not able to remove my ex's name from the mortgage as it required a new mortgage, either way it was financially costly. To cut a long story short, I had my ex sign a make shift letter of intent, which he did when he moved out. I cannot find him and my fiances have got even worse. I now need to sell my home, does anyone know how this can be done in my present situation please? Any advice would be gratefully received. I am now married and want to make sure that we can start a fresh in a new home of our own.
RCG2018 - 11-Nov-18 @ 9:46 PM
My son and his wife married now separated they sold the marital home and with the proceeds bought seperate homes she has now sold hers and her boyfriend has sold his and they have bought a house together as we are still married can she well that house without my permission
Tibbsy - 9-Nov-18 @ 7:58 AM
Hello really could do with a little advise my step mum left my dad for a 20 year old moved out the family home they have two teenage daughters together and share the children equally through out the weeks my dad paid for her flat deposit and furnished it she is now with some one els wants to get married and buy a house so she is trying to make my dad sell their home it was my grandad home that he brought i know she never paid near to what my dad has paid for the house bills ECT but did contribute a bit. And the house is in both their names can she make him?
Nm - 4-Nov-18 @ 8:31 PM
I have a court order transferring a property to myself. Property is heavily mortgaged and paid by me but in joint names. Lender will not remove him from mortgage. I have sold property twice but my ex has blocked sale by refusing to give authority for contract and transfer documents to be used at point of completion. Both buyers pulled out of sale as choose not to hang around for lengthy court proceedings. Ex not in UK so has no fear of legal repercussions. My question is if I pay outstanding mortgage on property will this negate the need for his authority & signature on contract & transfer documents. If I manage to remove him off deeds can I sell property with my signature only? Any advice appreciated, would really like to move on with my life.
Esk - 21-Oct-18 @ 3:21 AM
Hi- asking on behalf of a family member. He and his wife had a joint home, which she has not lived in for a long time, probably over ten years, while he remained and paid the mortgage. He is serving a substantial sentence in prison and the ex wife (not officially divorced yet) has so far attempted a suspect letter trying to direct him to sign the house over to her. There appeared to be no official solicitor stanp etc, despite claiming to be from one. She is aware that neither of them can sell without permission from the other. He signed nothing, believing it to be false. He has had another letter, this time naming a solictor, with address. It is directing him to agree to the sale of the home due to him not returning to it for possibly ten years. There are no other guidelines as to what exactly he would agree to, ie signing over all rights to any monies due, despite it being him who has almost paid off the remaining mortgage.It has been hinted if he refuses, his ex will take him to court and they may seek that he pays those expenses. Can they do that if he is in prison? Where does he stand, as there are many deceptions and manipulations in the family.
Nials - 11-Oct-18 @ 7:42 PM
Hi my husband decided to leave me for an 18yr old after 14yrs together, he recieved a large inheritance just before, which hes spent partying, im getting very small payout. Iv been a full time mum for the last 8yrs, no family close by to help. Hes now selling our home making me and kids homeless, council won't help until its officially sold and I'll have 8 weeks to find somewhere else to live, iv no savings either. House is up for valuation price, theres no equity in house if anything will be negitive equity. Hes demanding to reduce the amount of the house for quicker sale, can he force me to reduce price? Thank you
Lk - 10-Oct-18 @ 9:51 PM
Hi. I have split with my partner of 18 years and currently still own a house with himwe have never been married or have had children. We have currently split for 2 years now, but still own the house together. Oringally we both tried to sell the property , but after gettingtwo offers both buyers dropped out and have found out why when i tired to remortage the house in my name soley and was rejected by the bank because of some 'block' on the house. I have nowfound out my ex is in seroius debt and has now stuck a deal with a company ... to repay the debt over the next 5 years in the form of an IVA .The bankagreed after alot of stress to the remortage if his name came off the deeds though . He owes me £5000 personal loans and iput down the entire depoisit on the house down .ijust want to move on with my life now,hehasa room with his newgirlfriend and ihave a new partner, butstill oneday hewantstosellthehousetome ,thenextchanges his mind,he alwaysasks metoborrowmore money ,andrefuses to even now pay for his own solictor ,iamat a completeloss as how to get out of this revolving nightmare.Idon't have alot of spare money enough to go to court and so have to stay in the house while he can come and go bringing whohewants intothe house,Idon'tfeel safe here,but am afraid to leave as he will take over the house , he pays no bills so doesn't care about the costs, idon'twant a bad credit rating so have to keep paying,as hope to buy my own place. He has been emointly blacking me , not exceptingeven after two years of splitting up that idon't want him back ,i'm tryingto betough but need advice as i can't trust him to keep his word to sell , but need to move on with my life Ineed toforce a sale as this mental torture and threats are having an impact on my health , he has pushed me and threatened to burn the house down , even infront of my boyfriend . i have no idea how to move forward . . please help
Ska - 7-Oct-18 @ 1:59 AM
Hi. I would like some advise on forcing a sale? My partner still pays half the mortgage from a house he owns with his ex wife. He hasn't lived in the property for 4 years but still pays half. His ex wife and daughter live there with her new partner. My partner no longer wants to pay half and wants to sell the house. His ex wife and new partner can't afford to buy him out. Can he force her to sell it? Please help
Debbie - 30-Sep-18 @ 3:04 PM
My partner and I brought in joint names just last year. He violently attacked me a few months ago and will be sentenced next month. My solicitor has written to his solicitor regarding the house. By law he cannot ever come back there (for my protection) he has not paid anything towards the mortgage for the last 3 months. As this a domestic abuse case, is there any way of having him legally removed from the deeds?
E.Reed - 30-Sep-18 @ 8:50 AM
I jointly bought a house with my Partner in July 2015. I put £130,000 into the purchase and she put approximately £40,000 into the Purchase. We have now split up but are currently house sharing. So in the near future we will be selling the house and going our separate ways. So my question is am I entitled to get my £130,000 back out of the sale of the house, which is worth about £275,000 or will we have to split the profits 50/50 ??
Steve - 19-Sep-18 @ 8:26 PM
I am now divorced with an agreed financial settlement, he has one buy to let and me the other.We agreed the valuations, but if he didn't get my name off his BTL mortgage, he had to sell.He put the house up for sale and sold within 4 weeks of the court order, but got a much higher price than that agreed at the court. Q1 Can I ask for 50% of the increase?Q2 Can I ask the conveyancing solicitor to hold back this money until we have agreed a settlement, or I go back to court?Don't want to delay the completion unnecessarily.
TripeL - 17-Sep-18 @ 3:50 PM
In an unhappy relationship my partner and I bought a house 6 yrs ago(Scotland) am thinkin of buyin him out which I paid 70k outright and he paid 32 k outright with no mortgage. What are my rights?
Jem - 15-Sep-18 @ 3:26 PM
My husband and I own our own home no mortgage. I want to leave him as he is abusive to myself and son. I've told him I want to leave but how do I go about getting my half of the house to start again.
Smithy - 12-Sep-18 @ 1:44 PM
Jack - Your Question:
At last I may have found informaton concerning properties and partners. I am currently divorced and living in my flat which I purchased in 1993. At the time I felt it was the best solution to renting and besides we had a daughter. Upon the divorce the flat was split 50/50. I decided to live in the flat alongside my ex, and my child as I didn't want to lose contact of her plus I had no work. I want to sell the flat again which I had tried back in 2010 but my ex-wife is still liivng in it and refuses to sell, as she doesn't want to lose out. I have dealt with a solicitor on this matter, spent a considerable amount of money, and time in the process. The solicitor informed me the only way I could sell would be an eviction order to remove her, as she is a sitting tenant. I had hoped it wouldn't have to go to that extreme and she could or would change her mind. Its making my surrondings extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant to live in. If there is anyone who could shed any light on this irritating and gnawing situation, I would welcome any useful information.J B

Our Response:
If the flat is split 50/50 you could apply to the courts for an order of sale. A judge would look at all the circumstances surrounding you, your ex partner and child and make a decision based on that. Here is a link to more information
RecentlySeparated - 12-Sep-18 @ 10:52 AM
At last I may have found informaton concerning properties and partners. I am currently divorced and living in my flat which I purchased in 1993. At the time I felt it was the best solution to renting and besides we had a daughter. Upon the divorce the flat was split 50/50. I decided to live in the flat alongside my ex, and my child as I didn't want to lose contact of her plus I had no work. I want to sell the flat again which I had tried back in 2010 but my ex-wife is still liivng in it and refuses to sell, as she doesn't want to lose out. I have dealt with a solicitor on this matter, spent a considerable amount of money, and time in the process. The solicitor informed me the only way I could sell would be an eviction order to remove her, as she is a sitting tenant. I had hoped it wouldn't have to go to that extreme and she could or would change her mind. Its making my surrondings extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant to live in. If there is anyone who could shed any light on this irritating and gnawing situation, I would welcome any useful information. J B
Jack - 6-Sep-18 @ 4:31 PM
Hi. My wife has just announced she wants to split up. We have a hide together which I have spent all my spare time over the last three years renovating and extending. This has massively increased the value of the property. I also have a 17 year old son who lives with me. She wants me out. But I can’t afford to rent on my own. I wang to put the house on the market and sell so we can split the money. Please advise.
Ian Stoneman - 4-Sep-18 @ 7:38 AM
Pancho - Your Question:
HiMy partner left me suddenly and moved to USA. She is still on mortgage after 5 years as I haven’t been in contact and not sure where she is. I can’t remove her from mortgage without her permission or move house which I want to do what can I do?

Our Response:
Talk to your mortgage lender, they should be able to contact her on your behalf and explain your options if you've been the only one paying the mortgage.
RecentlySeparated - 28-Aug-18 @ 2:54 PM
Hi My partner left me suddenly and moved to USA. She is still on mortgage after 5 years as I haven’t been in contact and not sure where she is. I can’t remove her from mortgage without her permission or move house which I want to do what can I do?
Pancho - 25-Aug-18 @ 12:42 PM
Hi I bought a house 4 years before I met my husband he lived in the house for 2 years and we jointly paid a small mortgage £206. We split after 15 months of marriage with no children. He lodged an interest I. The house on the land registry... I sold the house 3 months after the split. The equity was about 68 thousand he wants 12. I paid of his 13 grand of debt when we were together. I don't think I owe him a penny We have our decree nisi due In 10 weeks. How likely is the judge going to award him money from the sale?
Lucy - 24-Aug-18 @ 2:32 PM
My sister and I jointly own a property which I want to sell and she does not. Can I force the sale? We haven’t spoken for 20 yrs
Tina - 24-Aug-18 @ 12:58 PM
I am separating from my partner after a 30 years together. We are tenants in common with myself having 60% of the property in my name. We are mortgage free. Can he make me sell the property?. If so would the courts take into consideration any health problems I have?. Many thanks for any advice
Tina - 24-Aug-18 @ 12:37 PM
My husband and I legally separated 11yrs ago. We jointly own a second property, we've agreed to sell and divide proceeds equally, no mortgage. Solicitors says they can't act for the two us us, my ex must get his own solicitor... Just bumped up the fee £1100. Are we being ripped off?
Curious - 22-Aug-18 @ 7:01 PM
Recently separated husband signing House over to me no problem.. Then I discover an ex girlfriend whom he bought the house with years ago had gone bankrupt after they parted and she had got a trust fund who bought 12%of her debt she used house as collateral... Her name was off the house about 2 years after they split but in that time she ran up debt.... Now this Trust fund accountants say that if I want this house outright I've to pay 13k to them surely not my husband knew nothing about her doing this he wasn't consulted
Scout - 16-Aug-18 @ 3:45 PM
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
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