Who gets the family home in the divorce?

Who gets the family home in the divorce

“Who gets the house in a divorce with children?” is one of the most common questions asked by couples who are in the process of legal separation.

Divorce is never easy, but it becomes even more complicated when children are involved. We take a look at the key considerations surrounding who gets the house in a divorce with children and help you feel better prepared for the situation ahead.

A note from our expert.

“The main breadwinner will get the house” This is incorrect and a common
assumption that I hear when I speak to clients. Every situation is unique and can come with its own complexities so seeking advice at the outset is key to ensuring you are protected”.

“It is essential to have an early conversation with a solicitor to advise on the best course of action for you. At times, I am contacted further down the line making it difficult to make the necessary changes”.Hapreet Saund, Head of Family, Chartered Legal Executive

Your children are the top priority

Studies show that almost half of all divorces in the UK involve children under the age of 16. Families can break down for many reasons including infidelity, drifting apart, or a lack of intimacy. While the grounds for divorce may be varied, all parents are united by a desire to do the best for their children.

Some animosity is present in most divorce cases, not least because the two parties are likely to have contrasting views about how their assets should be split. However, the commitment to the child(ren) is one area where working together to reach a suitable agreement is the right option for everyone involved.

Stability and Familiarity: Maintaining Routine for Children

The harsh reality is that a divorce will turn a child’s life upside down. However, a smoother transition from living in a two-parent home into a one-parent home is very reassuring for them.

Children with family routines are 47% more likely to enjoy advanced levels of emotional health and social skills. Where possible, parents should sit children down and explain the situation, letting them know that it’s not their fault and that they will still get to enjoy a positive relationship with both parents. Following this, you should focus on;

  • Keeping them in the family home and their childhood bedroom.
  • Staying in the same school with the same friends.
  • Sticking to daily rituals like bedtimes and cleaning routines.

Structure doesn’t make divorce any less upsetting for children, but it shows a sense of normality that makes them realise that things will be OK.

Co-Parenting Arrangements: Shared Residence Considerations

When asking “Who gets the house in a divorce with children?”, you will naturally need to accept that the child’s life will be split across two homes.

There are 2.9 million lone-parent households in the UK, with the majority having children who split their time across two homes. When thinking about co-parenting, regardless of how the time between two households is split, the child’s best interests must be prioritised at all times.

The parent who the child lives with for the majority of the time is known as a resident parent while the other party is a non-resident parent. However, shared residence may be used when the child spends equal time with each parent – such as alternating weeks.

When taking this route, though, parents must ensure that;

  • The two properties are in close proximity.
  • Moving from one home to the other doesn’t negatively impact their routine.
  • Living across the two homes equally doesn’t impact their behaviour.

If handled correctly, though, this can be the right option, not least because it allows your family to build a routine that works best for all parties while also creating some flexibility. It works best when couples split amicably and use tactics like no-fault divorces. Nonetheless, all parents who think that this routine will work best for their child can make it work.

Do you have to sell your house when you divorce?

“Many clients believe that the house will need to be sold on separation. However, there are many options available depending on your individual circumstances and ‘needs’. For further guidance, please get in touch so we can provide the tailored advice for your matter”.Hapreet Saund, Head of Family, Chartered Legal Executive

As with any divorce, there is no law that states all couples should sell their former marital home. However, the courts can make an order to sell the property if former spouses cannot reach a financial agreement.

It may be deemed better to sell the property, especially if the resident parent thinks that a fresh start or a smaller property would be best for the child. Likewise, it is often the most effective way for the non-resident parent to get the financial outcome that they are entitled to. Still, in cases where keeping the marital home is the practical solution for the child and resident parent, selling is not necessarily an obligation.

In an ideal world, the two parties will be able to reach an agreement that serves the best interests of the children while also allowing both parents to achieve satisfactory financial outcomes without legal disputes. It makes court cases shorter, smoother, and less expensive while also reducing the risk of unnecessary additional animosity between the two parties.

Property orders

When two divorcing parents cannot reach an agreement, the courts may impose a Property Adjustment Order. This could result in an enforced sale, postponed sale (until the youngest child turns 18), or the transfer to one parent. In the latter scenario, the non-resident parent agrees to ‘sell’ their share of the home for a fee or through shared assets.

Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, Section 25 lists eight factors that are taken into account. When divorces include children, they are taken into account when determining the financial needs of each divorcee. So, the resident parent is likely to gain a bigger percentage of the assets following a sale.

Dealing with the mortgage in divorce

It is estimated that 22% of Brits own a home through a mortgage or loan. So, as well as knowing who gets the house in a divorce with children, it’s important to recognise the impact of the remaining mortgage.

Removing one person’s name from the mortgage is the preferred solution for many divorcees. It helps the party who has been removed borrow more when they look to buy their next home while the person remaining in the home does not need to rely on their ex-spouse. It also means that the mortgage is solely theirs.

For both parties, ending the credit file links is deemed beneficial. Furthermore, establishing a sense of clarity from both sides of the agreement can only have a positive impact. However, only the sole remaining mortgage’s financial situation will count towards the future mortgage.

While structured child support payments and other revenue sources can be added to the applicant’s salary, it will be necessary to speak with your mortgage provider and a financial advisor to discuss possible solutions.

How an experienced family lawyer can help

“Clients feel relieved once they have spoken to me as they feel that the pressure has been taken off them and they understand the financial process much better after seeking advice”Hapreet Saund, Head of Family, Chartered Legal Executive

Divorce is a challenging time in your life, especially when children are involved. Thankfully, you do not have to face the process alone. An experienced family lawyer can guide you through all key components, including who gets the house in a divorce with children.

Working with an experienced family lawyer brings many benefits when going through a divorce, such as;

  • Their experience of the laws can help you prepare a case and understand all possible outcomes.
  • They can help you focus on working towards outcomes that service your child’s best interests as well as yours.
  • Their support removes stress from the situation and takes emotional reactions out of the equation.
  • They streamline the process, allowing you to gain faster answers while focusing more energy on the children at this time.
  • Their expertise will put your mind at ease as the best financial and family outcomes will be reached.

Mediation and Negotiation: Resolving Property Disputes Amicably

After reaching the best agreement with regard to co-parenting, potential property disputes will sit very high on the agenda. The average UK property price now stands at almost £300,000. In addition to being a huge financial asset, it is the place that you have called home, which creates another source of possible conflict.

With RLK’s mediation and negotiation services, property disputes can be solved to provide a fair solution for both parties. More importantly, we work to achieve the best outcome for your child while also freeing up more time for you to focus on maintaining routine and support them through a challenging transition.

To find out more, get in touch with our friendly advisors today.