Filing for divorce, does it mean I lose my home?
If you are in the process of a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership you should protect your right to the family home. Filing for a divorce will not mean you lose your property or end up without anywhere to reside. However, covering your back will give you peace of mind that you are taking the right precautions with dealing with your situation. Please read on.
Protecting your rights
You can find out whether you have a noted interest in your home by using a search with the Land Registry (register for free and this service costs £3.00 per property search). Looking at the title deeds (a paper document showing ownership of the property) will help you clarify who owns the family home. The title deeds will either display both of your names or one of your names. The HM Land Registry can be found here:
If it turns out that your home is owned by your ex-spouse you should be able to protect your position if your home is registered on the Land Registry. If your property is with the Land Registry you can protect yourself by applying for a ‘matrimonial home rights notice’ (also known as a home rights notice). It should be done as soon as possible by filling in an HR1 form, found on this link:
If your home is not with the Land Registry you will need to apply for a Class F Land charge with them, the Land Registry website have an online tool to help you. Available (Class F Land Charge) on this link:
Once you have signed up your ex cannot legally do anything in regard to the home without your knowledge or consent.
Jointly owned homes
If both of your names are on the Land Registry (or title deeds) this means you and your ex-partner own the home together. This will either be as ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common.’
If you are joint tenants, you will have shared equity equally between you. If you own the property as tenants in common you both own a share in the property. You can split ownership equally or in a mutually agreed percentage split, this would usually have been agreed prior to your predicament.
Contact your mortgage lender!
When divorcing it is important to notify your mortgage lender, if your name is not on the mortgage account your ex-spouse will need to inform them. Informing your lender of your situation will prepare for any future arrears that may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. Mortgage lenders appreciate good old fashioned honesty and this will pay dividends if a problem does arise.