Ordinarily, unless there is a compelling reason otherwise, when you divorce, the assets are dealt with on a financial basis rather than a legal basis.
Ie. It doesn’t matter whose name they are in.
If you are on good terms with your wife, you can either transfer the properties to joint names or have a separate deed of trust which says that she holds them on trust jointly with you.
If you draw that document it’s essential that she takes independent legal advice on it.
If a person who is potentially being disadvantaged does not have solicitors, it is not sufficient for a person to be told to take legal advice but then declined, it is essential that they do actually take that advice. The solicitor must provide a certificate (a letter) confirming that he provided the advice). The certificate doesn’t say what the advice is, the advice is confidential but the certificate just confirms that the advice was given.
Otherwise, it’s an argument.
Remember that there are 3 parts to every divorce.
1 The divorce itself
1 is relatively straightforward and infinitely a DIY job and you can save a whole load of money by doing just that. Even if solicitors are involved, the bill shouldn’t be more than a couple of grand although the court fee alone is GBP550.
It is arguing over 2 & 3 which costs big-money if solicitors are involved.
Nonetheless, people don’t have to have a court order in respect of 2 & 3 and they can actually agree what they like between us. Many couples never have arguments and have no court orders. My ex-wife and I never argued and never had a court order other than the actual divorce itself.
As part of the divorce process, to draw a line under the finances you will need a financial order.
The courts will not get involved in marital finances unless divorce or legal separation proceedings have started.
Remember that the divorce itself is not that expensive, if you use solicitors, it is arguing over money and children which costs the big bucks.
And here is some reading on applying for a financial order.
Which draws a line under the finances of the marriage and prevents either of you coming back to the other, in some years time, asking for more money if circumstances have changed (the lottery?).
That’s what happened here when the spouse popped out of the woodwork years after the divorce, when there was no financial order.
You can agree what you like between you, then it really is a case of putting the application into the court and the judge will rubberstamp the arrangements you have agreed. Otherwise it’s a potentially expensive argument.
Here are some notes from the government
On applying for a financial order
This is the form you need to start the process: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/885814/form-a-eng.pdf
And how you go on from there depends on whether you agree with what is happening with the finance or whether you are going to have an argument.