The court's priority is to ensure that children have a roof over their heads. There are however a whole variety of matters which the court consider on the ownership of property in divorce.
When you divorce or dissolve your civil partnership, there are several options you have about what you do with the family home.
You might decide to:
1. Sell the home and both of you move out. You could use the money you’ve raised to put towards buying another home for each of you, if you can afford to do this.
2. Arrange for one of you to buy the other out.
3. Keep the home and not change who owns it. One partner could continue to live in it, perhaps until your children are 18 or leave school.
4. Transfer part of the value of the property from one partner to the other as part of the financial settlement. The partner who gave up a share of their ownership rights would keep a stake or ‘interest’ in the home. This means that when it is sold he or she will receive a percentage of its value.
Dividing the home in England or Wales
In addition to the options outlined above, a court in England or Wales can defer the sale of the home through what’s called a ‘Mesher’ order.
This can put off the sale of the home until a specific event triggers the sale – for example, the youngest child turns 17 or 18.
The net sale proceeds are then divided in accordance with the court order.
A court can also use a ‘Martin’ order to defer the sale of the house, but importantly it gives one person an entitlement to occupy the property for life or until remarriage.
This is most often used where the couple don’t have children and the other person does not immediately need the money to put towards their own needs.
However, even though the other person may not be entitled to live in the house, this doesn't mean they are exempt from paying the mortgage or that they are automatically written off the Title Deeds. There are different arrangements that can be made with regards ***** ***** finances tied up in the property, and these arrangements can be formalised by the Court in a Property Order.
For example, it might be agreed that one person is permitted to live in the house with the children until a certain point, such as the youngest child turning 18, with the house then being sold and the proceeds divided according to the Property Order.
Alternatively, it may be decided that the property will be transferred into one person's name, but the other person will receive a certain percentage when the house is eventually sold.