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Divorce, money and property: 4 important things to know

The end of a marriage is an extremely difficult time for a person to endure.

This is not only because of the emotional trauma that comes from the relationship ending but also because of its impact on financial stability. When it comes to the latter, decisions over money and who gets the house in a divorce can cause the most problems.

Although many couples get married and live happily ever after, the romantics among you will be disappointed to learn that a large percentage of marriages end in divorce. During the course of a marriage, you accumulate a lot of shared assets: assets that need to be divided in the event of a divorce. Aside from situations involving children, it’s disagreements over money and property that often cause the most stress during a divorce. This makes it a good idea to familiarise yourself with the rules and laws that apply to your situation.

In this post, we’ll discuss the role and importance of assets in a divorce and highlight a few vital things that will help you resolve your situation with as little hassle as possible.

1. Disagreeing will make things complicated

No matter how happy and loving your marriage was, a divorce is often a hostile and bitter affair. Because of this, agreeing on the terms of your divorce can prove to be extremely difficult, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects such as money and property. While in your current state of mind it may seem impossible for you and your ex to agree or compromise on anything, you’ll find that doing so will benefit you both in the long run.

Disagreements during divorce not only draw out the entire process but also cost you a lot more money. If you and your ex-partner can’t reach a financial agreement or decide who will get the house, your case will go to court, which will require additional fees. Getting a family lawyer will also be essential in these instances, so the longer it takes you to finalise your divorce, the more you will have to spend on legal representation.

2. Children play a vital role

The emotional strain and stress of a break-up is a tough experience, even for the most mentally strong. For children, it’s unsurprising that the confusing and upsetting nature of a divorce can have long-lasting effects. As such, they should always be the top priority when parents decide to go their separate ways.

This is a sentiment that’s shared and enforced by the court, which will always put the needs of children above all else in divorce cases. It’s for this reason that children play a pivotal role when it comes to deciding which parent will get the house during a divorce. Typically, the court will award the home to the primary caregiver, as this allows the child, or children, to remain in their home and will minimise the disruption to their everyday life.

3. Understanding home rights

It’s common for one parent to move out of the family home during a divorce to prevent any avoidable disruption or hostility. But while you may not be living in the property anymore, it’s important to note that you aren’t giving up your rights to the house. According to the law, both parties have ‘home rights’ until a financial settlement has been established.

Home rights still apply even if you don’t own the property or your name isn’t on the mortgage, which means that you are well within your rights to continue living in your home, unless the court has ordered you to leave or there is evidence of domestic violence. The home rights of each spouse, according to the Family Law Act 1996, are as follows:

  • The right to stay in your home unless a court order specifically excludes you from being there.
  • The right to ask the court to allow you to return to the house if you moved out.
  • The right to register your home rights with the Land Registry, so it can’t be sold, transferred or have a mortgage taken out on it without your knowledge.
  • The right to pay the mortgage (if the other party stops making the payments).
  • The right to know of any repossession action taken by your mortgage lender.
  • The right to join any mortgage possession proceedings taken out by your lender

4. Your choice of a family lawyer is essential

There are many things you need to consider if you’re soon to be divorced, but few are more crucial than your choice of legal representation. A knowledgeable and experienced divorce solicitor is a tremendous asset when it comes to splitting essential assets such as money and property.

A specialist family lawyer is well worth the investment, as you’ll be working with someone well-versed in all aspects of family law — including how your children will influence the court’s decision where you cannot agree — and who has experience of dealing with a scenario similar to your own. Many people opt for the cheapest divorce solicitor they can find or the first firm they stumble upon. However, to receive a financial settlement that you’re satisfied with, taking the time to research, shop around and find a solicitor you trust is the best course of action.