When couples divorce, they sometimes informally agree what will happen to the matrimonial home. They might agree that the wife should live there until the youngest reaches adulthood, that the property be sold and the proceeds be divided (not necessarily equally) or for the outgoing party to be ‘bought out’ by the person who stays. The matrimonial home is often the most valuable asset that a couple own – it is therefore very important that any agreement relating to it is set out with certainty, for both you and your future.
It is essential, when you are in the process of obtaining a divorce, that you carefully consider what you wish to do with your home (and other property you own). If you and your ex-spouse can reach an agreement this can be embodied in a document called a separation agreement or into a document which is then approved by the Court (a ‘Consent Order’). Otherwise, if you cannot agree, the court may make its own order regarding how the property will be divided. Whilst a separation agreement only shows the intention of the parties, either of the types of order may ‘set in stone’ what will happen with your property (and other assets) and should bring an end to any future claims which your ex-spouse may bring against you.
If you are already divorced but, at the time, you did not seek an order, it is possible that your ex-spouse may still be able to claim financial support from you. It is advisable, if you are concerned about this, that you speak to us so that you can be clear on your position. Because of this, when we are approached by clients who wish to ‘buy out’ their ex-spouse or sell the property some years after the divorce, we advise that you seek our advice regarding ‘closing the door’ on future claims.
If you are divorced or divorcing and currently own a property with your former spouse, please do not hesitate to contact our Family Department for further advice and to start the ball rolling. Our Conveyancing Department works closely with the Family Department to ensure a smooth and efficient process.