Divorce and Property

The uncoupling of most relationships has a significant financial impact on those involved. A family house once shared may now need to be divided to provide two homes. What happens to the family home, who will live where, how will you financially manage a home in the future, and what ongoing obligations towards housing costs will you have to each other, are some of the questions we will help you solve.

Where a couple owns a second home or investment property in the UK or abroad, ownership, tax and juridical issues can arise on divorce. Getting clear, sensible advice early on can alleviate anxiety and give you a solid foundation for making informed decisions and achieving a fair divorce settlement.

At Sharp Family Law, we are experts in dealing with the financial side of divorce, including complex matters surrounding property. Combining decades of experience with a sensitive, yet practical approach, we can help you get the right agreement in place for your needs and those of your family.

Our divorce property experts can advise on matters including:

  • Protecting your right to live in the family home
  • How could the value of your home be divided?
  • Prioritising your children’s need to be housed
  • Dealing with a joint mortgage on divorce
  • Second homes, holiday homes, investment properties etc.

Our clients include professionals, business owners, retirees, and those with international connections around the world, including in the USA, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, and their spouses. We have expertise advising middle-income and high net worth individuals and their families, with complex and valuable assets, including various types of property.

Whether you are unclear about your property rights during divorce or know exactly what you want to achieve, our divorce solicitors offer the tailored legal advice and pragmatic approach needed to protect your best interests and those of your loved ones.

To discuss property issues or other financial matters connected to divorce or separation with our experts, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol:

Bath     01225 448955                 Bristol     0117 9055 055

Why choose Sharp Family Law for advice on property in divorce?

Sharp Family Law is a niche firm of family solicitors in Bath and Bristol. Our sole focus is on family law and divorce court litigation, and this is reflected in the depth and breadth of our expertise.

Over the years, we have earned a reputation for taking a constructive, strategic, and intelligent approach to getting the most secure, long-term outcome for clients. Our goal is to help you to achieve financial stability and for you to be able to move on with your life with confidence

As well as drawing on our own legal expertise, we work with a range of other professionals, including pension advisors and actuaries, forensic and tax accountants, financial planners, and mortgage brokers. This allows us to ensure the needs of your entire family are met.

Independent recognition for our expertise includes:

  • Richard Sharp is personally ranked Band 1 in Chambers & Partners
  • Chambers & Partners – Band 2 for Family/Matrimonial Law in Somerset
  • The Legal 500 - Tier 3 for Family Law in the South West

Our team’s training and professional memberships include:

  • Resolution– the professional network for family lawyers committed to taking a non-confrontational approach to family law
  • Richard Sharp is a trained collaborative lawyer and family mediator in both the UK and USA. Tina Marshall-Kelliher and Victoria Barnett are trained collaborative lawyers

To find out more about our family lawyers’ individual expertise, please take a look at our team.

Choose the right approach for you and your family to achieve a fair agreement on your housing needs

Constructive negotiation

Private negotiations where the parties can discuss their priorities, needs and concerns in a safe and constructive environment, and a sensible, fair agreement can be prepared on how property and other assets should be shared.

Mediation

A professional Family Mediator could facilitate your discussion on housing and accommodation needs of you and your family in an even-handed way.  The mediator could also make suggestions as to how the issue might be resolved, how others have done so, and what the process would be if the issue were ever contested in court. By also reality testing with you a solution proposed, the mediator could help you reach a housing arrangement that work for you and your family

Collaborative law

Together with their trained collaborative lawyers, couples meet in person or virtually to find more creative and individualised ways of resolving housing and financial issues than might otherwise be generally available in the court system. By doing so they keep control on decisions about restructuring their financial arrangements rather than leaving it to the court to make

Applying to a Family Court for a Financial Order

If a voluntary settlement cannot be agreed, or an amicable approach is not appropriate, it may be necessary to apply to a Family Court for a Financial Order to decide how your housing and other financial needs should be met.

Common questions about divorce and property

If the family home is owned by your spouse or partner, you may be able to protect your position by registering at HM Land Registry for England and Wales your interest in it. This is done by using a Matrimonial Home Rights notice if the property is registered or a Class F land charge if not.

If the property is not the family home, it is possible to register at the Land Registry a ‘restriction’.

Once your interest has been registered, your spouse or partner cannot sell or dispose of your home or apply for a change in the mortgage without you being told by HM Land Registry.

The overall aim in divorce financial settlements is to achieve fairness between the

couple. This applies to property as much as to other assets and income. It may be fair to divide the sale proceeds of a house 50:50.  However, an equal split may not result in adequately meeting the housing needs of one or both of you.

Alternatives might include agreeing to:

  • One of you staying and buying the other out.
  • The home being retained by both but occupied by one of you until your children are 18 or leave school or some other trigger event when it’s then sold and the proceeds divided.
  • The house is held by or transferred into the sole name of one of you. The other being given a stake or ‘interest’ (usually a percentage of the value) in the home by way of a legal charge secured against realisable on certain trigger events happening.

If you have young children, it is important to be aware that the family court will consider first how best to house them with both their separated parents somewhere suitable, when deciding what should happen to the family home. While most divorce settlements are achieved without court intervention this initial step is important to bear in mind.

If the financial resources available are just insufficient to house children with both parents in similar homes, careful consideration needs to be given to where best to house children and with whom. Their needs should be always uppermost in their parent’s minds during a separation or divorce.

The common approach is to request three local estate agents to provide a market appraisal on the home and adopt an average of the three. An alternative is to instruct a chartered surveyor to inspect the home and provide a valuation report.

The cost of selling the property can be taken into account in calculating the net value or equity in the property. That could include the fees or commission charged by the Selling or Estate Agent and / or the Conveyancing Solicitors as well as possible capital gains tax.

Anyone named on the mortgage, is liable jointly and individually for the whole amount due. Should your spouse or partner fail to pay their part, the lender could hold you responsible for the full debt.

To avoid such a situation, it is important to agree early on who will pay the mortgage. It may be advisable to let your mortgage lender know if payments may be affected by the separation or divorce.

Speak to our divorce property specialists in Bristol and Bath

For pragmatic, constructive and sensible advice on your property rights during divorce or separation, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol.

Bath     01225 448955                 Bristol     0117 9055 055

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