Dealing with a divorce is an incredibly stressful period, and the addition of dealing with property during divorce only adds to the stress. If you’re currently going through a divorce and want to know more about your rights to the house, whether your ex-partner can force a sale, and what a Mecher Order is, this is the article for you.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Property During Divorce?
What Are My Rights to My House?
If the house that you’ve lived in together is in your ex-partner’s name and not yours, it can cause a huge amount of worry about what your rights are and what you’re entitled to. To ease this concern, you’re able to register your involvement in the property, which ensures that your ex is unable to sell the house without telling you about it. It also gives you time to dispute the sale and give yourself an extra layer of protection.
You are also unable to be forced out of the house. You may be worried that your ex is going to kick you out of the property, but if you are married or in a civil partnership, the house will be considered a marital asset that you’re entitled to a percentage of, even if you didn’t make financial contributions to the property.
Can My Ex Force Me to Sell?
Most of the time in a divorce with a shared home, the house is sold. The proceeds split between the two parties let you cut ties and move on as you see fit. However, it isn’t always that simple, especially if the house is a family home and you don’t want to disrupt the children’s lives any more than absolutely necessary.
In this case, one party can buy the other out of their share of the house if they have the money to do this – this is a fairly rare outcome though, as property is an expensive asset. Sometimes, ex-partners will be able to come to an agreement between themselves that the children and the primary caregiver stay in the family home and the other partner leaves, but takes other assets to equal the value of the house, such as cars, furniture, or other property that you may have in your name together. If you’re unable to reach a decision on this between you, it may need to go to the courts for a judge to do so instead.
What Happens if There Are Children Involved?
When children are involved in a divorce, it can add extra stress and worry for everyone, but there are specific rules and procedures in place to protect them as much as possible. A divorce is stressful for those who are going through it, but it can be a very scary and confusing time for children, especially if they are younger, and so the courts will try to cause as little disruption as possible for the children.
When it comes to property during divorce, if a house isn’t being sold and the money split, most of the time a judge will decree that the children should stay in the family home. In this case, the primary caregiver will usually also stay with them. There are a few cases that this differs:
- If the house is deemed unsafe for whatever reason
- If a parent gets sole custody and is unable to afford the house on their own.
What Do the Courts Take Into Consideration When Dealing With Property in Divorce With Children Involved?
There are several factors that a judge will look at when they decide what happens to a house:
- The income, earning capacity, property, and other financial resources that each partner has and what it will likely be in the future
- All of the financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities that both partners have and will likely have in the future
- The standard of living for each of the partners before the divorce
- The age of each partner, and the length of the marriage
- Any physical or mental disability either partner may have
- The contribution of each partner and the welfare of the children – this will also take into consideration childcare. It isn’t purely based on finances
- The attitude and conduct of each partner throughout the divorce proceedings
- The value that each partner stands to lose in the divorce.
The courts will generally decide that the house is to be sold and the proceeds split, for one partner to get full ownership of the house, or for a Mecher Order to be put into place.
What is a Mecher Order?
A Mecher Order is a court order that puts a delay on when a property can be sold to protect the children involved. Usually, there is a trigger event that will result in the end of the order, and the most common event is the youngest child in the house turning 18.
This provides more stability for the partner staying in the house with the children as well, but it’s important to remember that this court order is temporary – when the agreed trigger event is reached, the house will need to be dealt with in the way the courts have decided, which is usually to sell it.
What Should I Know Before Selling and Splitting the House?
The most important thing for you to consider when you’re dealing with property during divorce is what your next steps are. Do you have somewhere else to live, or are you relying on the sale to give you the finances to buy elsewhere? Some homeowners who don’t have much of their mortgage left to pay or who own their house outright are able to buy elsewhere after selling, but for those who still have a big chunk of the mortgage left, options are more limited.
You may have to rent property again until you’re able to save up a deposit to buy another house or stay with family until you’re in a position to start applying for mortgages. You will also want to decide if you want to stay in your current area or move elsewhere – for those who relocated with their partner, you may decide that you want to move back to where you’re from originally, or try somewhere else to give you a fresh start.
Planning in advance is important to ensure that you’re giving yourself the best grounds possible to restart.
What’s the Easiest Way to Deal With the Property During Divorce?
Generally, the easiest thing is to sell the house and split the money, as it gives you both a clean slate and allows you to move away from each other and have some space. Some homeowners struggle to sell their house for months on end after finalizing their divorce and end up having to live together, which brings a whole new level of stress and pressure to deal with. If you’re currently dealing with a divorce and have been asking yourself “how can I sell my house quickly and start fresh somewhere else?” you can look into selling to a quick-sale company or spending some time redecorating to get the house looking its best to increase interest and help speed up your sale.
Dealing with property during divorce is a stressful and difficult time, but making sure that you’re fully aware of the processes and your options will help make this time easier and make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of at any point along the way.
Holly is an experienced Content Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing, property, and advertising industry, focusing on blog creation and building relationships with other creators. She is a strong media and communications professional with a Bachelor of Arts focused in Screenwriting and Creative Professional Writing from the University of Worcester.