Selling the matrimonial home after separation or divorce

Are you separating or divorcing but your spouse or civil partner won’t agree to sell the matrimonial home?

When it comes to separating or divorcing your spouse or civil partner, for the majority of couples, the largest asset will be the matrimonial home and it may be that one party wants to stay in the home and the other wants to sell it to liquidate an asset to provide cash.

"If there are children of the family then the priority for the court will be to provide a suitable home for the children of the family and the spouse or civil partner with care of the children as well as a home for the other spouse or civil partner. Unless the parties are wealthy, the fundamental question to resolving this issue is how to use the matrimonial home in a way that can house both parties adequately," explains Family Trainee Solicitor Amy Leung.

The most common orders made include:-

  • The immediate sale of the matrimonial home and division of the net sale proceeds;
  •  The sale of the matrimonial home is postponed until certain events take place (for example the children reaching 18) with the net sale proceeds to be divided on sale;
  • Transfer of the home into the sole name of one spouse or civil partner with a charge in favour of the other or immediate payment of a lump sum in compensation.

An immediate sale of the matrimonial home may be appropriate in a number of circumstances which may include:-

  • Where there is enough equity in the matrimonial home to be divided to provide both parties with the means to purchase an adequate new home;
  • Where one party has already obtained alternative accommodation and the net sale proceeds are used to allow the other spouse to purchase a new property. The remainder of the net sale proceeds may be given to the spouse with accommodation as a lump sum;
  • Where there is not enough money to pay the existing mortgage(s) and outgoings on the matrimonial home.

You might ask how the equity available in your matrimonial home can be calculated. Follow these steps:-

  • Obtain an up-to date valuation for your matrimonial home from say 2-3 estate agents and take the mean value;
  • Obtain the balance of any outstanding mortgage(s) including any early redemption penalties and secured debts;
  • Find out what the estate agent fees will be;
  • Find out what the conveyancing fees will be; The remainder will be the equity available.

Our Family Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Amy or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.