Following the initial turmoil and heartache, the division of assets is undoubtedly one of the main concerns for most people who go through a divorce. The home you were living in as a married couple—in many cases the largest asset—is included in this.
Once the rush of emotions surrounding your divorce begin to subside and it’s time to split the value of your old home, as well as the rest of your combined assets, there are basically two options. You can either agree who gets what together or you can let a judge decide.
Coming to an agreement or going to the courts
If your relationship split is amicable and you can put your differences aside, you can come to an agreement of who should get in the courts via a consent order. By taking the time to run through your combined belongings and finances, you can settle things on your own terms—even if you require some extra assistance.
The legally-binding consent order can incorporate information about what you and your ex intend to do with your property, as well as your money and any other assets. As long as the signed draft consent order you send to the court is deemed reasonable, it can be approved with minimal fuss or expense (the consent order itself only costs £50). You can then move forward safe in the knowledge that your interests are secure following divorce.
Unfortunately, this route is not always appropriate for separating couples. Divorce can be tough on both parties and coming together isn’t always the right option. If this is the case for you, you will have to pursue independent advice, known in legal terms as mediation, before going through the courts for a financial order. In this scenario, how the value of your house is shared between you and your former partner is in the hands of a judge.
Reserved for occasions when an agreement can’t be reached over your property or other interests, financial orders are separate from the divorce proceedings and tend to take six to twelve months. Due to the extra complications and work required, a financial order application costs £255 and may also need you to go to court for appointments and/or hearings.
How the court splits property assets
Once your home has been valued, a judge will determine what they believe to be a reasonable split, alongside consideration of all your other assets. Some of the factors that influence this include the length of your relationship, your ages, your ability to earn and your standard of living.
From the rough start of a fifty-fifty split, the judge assigned to you will systematically consider the above and much more to establish what they believe to be a fair share. While what’s fair and what isn’t can be subjective during such a stressful time, providing there is enough to satisfy the requirements of both parties, this lawful approach leaves little to dispute. It also ensures, more importantly, any children are considered first and foremost.
Alongside settling the financial dispute, the judge will also attempt to sever all financial ties if possible. While painful in the short-term, once complete a financial order can bring a real sense of closure and allow you to focus on moving on after divorce. However, as with most things, it’s easier if you can come to an agreement.
Following a divorce there are many aspects that affect how assets are divided. While the above outlines the different paths that a divorce can take, other assets and the adopted roles within the marriage and ability to earn all must be considered.
Your divorce is unique, but whether you come to an agreement with your former partner or have to go via the courts, rest assured that measures can be taken to ensure you receive a fair stake in your old home. Whatever the ownership situation of the house, whether it is in both of your names or not, its value must be considered before a fair settlement can be reached.Back to all articles