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Property & Divorce – What happens to the family home?

When it comes to getting a divorce, one of the biggest assets to divide is the family home, also known as the ‘former matrimonial home’ (FMH).

With time, energy and money going into creating a home, along with the memories that have been made there, deciding on what will happen with the family home can often be a difficult and stressful decision.

However, there are different settlements that can be made, and if you and your ex partner are unable to agree on one, the court will decide on a settlement that fairly divides shared property in a way that ensures all involved parties’ needs are met.

The most common outcomes for dividing the family home in a divorce, include:

Selling the Family Home

The first option is to sell the family home by placing it on the market. Net proceeds from the sale can then be divided between the two parties, with an appropriate percentage split being decided in relation to relevant circumstances.

However, this option is only one to consider if there is sufficient equity for two new houses to be purchased or for both parties to at least be able to put down deposits on a new house. When there is not sufficient equity in the property for either of those outcomes, finances will be taken into consideration to meet the housing needs of both parties in the fairest way, with the available resources.

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One Party Keeping The Family Home

Another option for dividing the family home in a divorce is for the home to be transferred to one of either party. This is usually settled with a buy out payment from the other party; however, some circumstances may be settled without a lump sum from the other party.

This option is dependent on the borrowing capacity of the party and whether they are able to take over mortgage payments and raise the money to buy out the other party and remain in the family home.

Creating a Trust of Land

Where young children are involved, a trust of land can be used to ensure a home is provided for the child whilst they are in full time education. The person considered to be the primary caregiver will get to occupy the family home.

Typically, an order is arranged, whereby once the youngest child has finished full time education, the home is sold, and equity will be released with an appropriate percentage split being decided in relation to relevant circumstances.

It is important to note that no divorce is the same and the decision on what happens to the family home is dependent on the individual circumstances of each case. If you and your ex partner are unable to agree on what will happen with the family home during your divorce, then we recommend seeking expert advice from a divorce solicitor. At Ward Hadaway, our divorce specialists have years of experience in providing clients with expert legal advice and support through their divorce. Please contact our divorce team for more information.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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