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Divorce and selling a property

Getting a divorce is often a very emotional time. Unfortunately, it can also be a complex process, especially if you own property together. You will have some important decisions to make. This guide will help you to better understand your options when it comes to property you own with your spouse and allow you to think about how you want to proceed.

Of course, you should seek legal advice when getting a divorce and they will help you to make important decisions like how to approach the dividing of joint assets (things you own as a married couple).

However, if you need to discuss selling property, reach out to your local haart branch too. We can help value your property and get you through the selling process smoothly.

How is a house divided in a divorce?

When you begin the process of divorce, your lawyer will talk you through your options for splitting everything you own. Sometimes couples don’t agree on how to do this, which can make the process longer, but whichever option you finally decide on regarding property will mean it has to be valued.

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The three options you have are as follows:

1 You both sell and move out

This is often the most financially viable option. The benefits can be a fresh start for both of you, as the property is no longer a worry and you can move into somewhere new alone, with children, or with friends or family. Once the house is sold, your solicitors can deal with the financial side of things – determining who gets what percentage of the sale value.

2 Choosing to sell later

Some couples decide to keep the house. Usually, one partner moves out, but this doesn’t mean they sacrifice any rights to ownership. This is typically when children are involved, as it might be easier for one parent to remain in the property until the child/children reach a certain age or it’s more appropriate to move them from school to school.

3 Buying your partner out

One partner can decide to buy the other person’s share of the property. The legal ownership is transferred into just one name, the other person moves out and the divorce is finalised.

Taking on the full mortgage

Couples often tend to transfer their joint mortgage into one person's name after a divorce, so only the person named on the mortgage will be liable for the mortgage repayments. This stops financial ties that can negatively affect a credit score and stops one person compromising the mortgage repayments of the other. It also means the person who is removed from the mortgage can now borrow for their own mortgage if they want to.

If you decide to stay in property formally owned by both of you during your marriage, your lender will recalculate whether or not you'll still be able to afford the repayments with just you on the mortgage.

Selling your property

There is not a huge difference in the sales process during a divorce. You have the property valued and placed on the market, with viewings and offers working in the same way as a normal sale. The only important thing to remember is your divorce lawyer will be advising you on how much your share will be after it sells, and the divorce is settled.

How does the selling process work?

What happens to a joint mortgage?

Even after you've divorced, you and your former partner will still be financially tied if you have any joint financial products. These are things like a joint bank account or a mortgage.

This is important because if the mortgage payments are not paid on time or missed, both you and your partner’s credit scores can be affected. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t live in the property anymore. A poor credit score seriously hampers your chances of getting a new mortgage in the future.

If one party refuses to pay the mortgage, for whatever reason, it could result in the property being repossessed. It's important that you notify your mortgage lender about the situation straight away.

More help from haart

From our jargon buster The buying process  to advice for buyers, haart is on a mission to get you moved with as little stress as possible. That includes chatting through changes like this one. Get in touch with your local branch today.