What Happens To A Property After A Divorce?

When dealing with divorce, things are certainly not straightforward. This also applies to any property that is owned by either one of the couple or owned jointly. So, if you have purchased a property, don’t just assume that you will be entitled to continue living there following the divorce, or that you will be entitled to 100% of the property’s value. And on the other hand, if your name is not on the mortgage or title deeds, don’t expect that you will be kicked out onto the street.

There are many factors to consider which will be discussed in this article, including selling to a property buying company. For more information on the benefits of selling a house to a property buying company see our Benefits Of Using A Property Buying Company Page.

What Happens To A Property Before A Divorce?

The short answer to this question is nothing, or at least nothing changes before a divorce has been finalised. It is not mandatory for any partner to move out of the property, unless something illegal has transpired, so in preparation for a divorce, it is best to do as much planning as possible.

A property is usually an asset, but it can also be a liability. If for example, you are behind on your mortgage payments or the property has slipped into negative equity, meaning that you owe the lending bank more than what the property is worth, then the property is a liability. If there is equity in the property, meaning that the sale value minus all costs, is above the amount of debt owing to the bank, then the property is an asset. And this is an asset that needs to be divided by the couple getting divorced.


How Can A Property Be Split?

The obvious problem with trying to split a property is that it cannot be physically divided. And it’s not always the case that the two people separating agree to move out and amicably sell the property whilst splitting the proceeds evenly. What if only one partner is on the title deeds or what if only one partner has put actual money into the property?

There are lots of factors which affect what happens to a house after a divorce, but the common options are:

  • Selling the house and splitting the equity sensibly between the two partners according to what has been contributed by both sides;
  • Buying out one partner and remaining in the house (the house does not need to be sold). This often requires a new mortgage;
  • One partner staying in the house with the other partner receiving a lump sum, or retaining a stake in the house. They would then get a previously agreed proportion of the proceeds when the house is sold;
  • One partner remaining in the house until certain conditions are met, such as all children turning 18, after which the house can be sold.

The options available will depend on each individual circumstance and often there is a need for a divorce lawyer to legally sort things out. This can mean going to court.

Is It Mandatory To Go To Court?

You don’t need to go to court to decide what happens to your marital home after divorce. In the first instance, if you have a prenuptial agreement with your spouse, what happens to your property and assets may be laid out in that. If not, there are still plenty of avenues that don’t lead to the courtroom.

If you are on good speaking terms with your ex-partner, you can settle issues related to the divorce without going before a judge. Despite this, it is advisable that you hire a solicitor to give you legal advice.

You can also enter mediation with your ex-partner if you cannot come to an agreement on your own. Mediation can bring ex-partners to an agreement on issues around the property, finance, and childcare. This also avoids going to court, which can be expensive, draining, and time-consuming.


In some cases, former partners will not be able to come to an agreement outside of courts. When dividing the marital assets, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • Income, earning capacity, financial resources and property of each spouse.
  • Financial requirements and needs of each spouse.
  • Spousal contribution: what each spouse has given to benefit the welfare of the family.
  • The value of the benefit to each spouse that one spouse would lose because of the divorce.
  • Standard of living the family was used to before the marital breakdown.
  • The mental and physical capacity of each spouse.
  • Ages of each partner.
  • Conduct of each spouse (if it was deemed enough that it would be unfair to disregard it in the eyes of the court).

The courts see marriage as a partnership. Therefore, assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be ‘marital assets’ which can all potentially be divided. The courts also consider where a partner may have lost assets they would have had if it weren’t for the marriage. For example, one partner might have stayed at home to look after children while the other worked. This also means the name on the title deeds of your property can have little bearing on who gets to live in the property after the divorce.

What Options Do I Have To Sell The Property?

If both of the ex-partners agree, selling the property and splitting the proceeds may be the best way to go. The challenge however is the time that it can take to sell a property. Typically, it can take between 6 to 12 months to sell a property and that can make life particularly difficult if a relationship has broken down. There is however an alternative option.

Selling a house to a cash property buying company is a good option for people going through a divorce because it offers assurance. For more information see our What Is A Cash Property Buyer page. Property can be bought in as little as 7 days or whichever timeframe suits to allow both parties to find new homes. This can mean that both ex-partners can move on with their life without delay and more stress and anguish caused by being forced to stay together.

Serene Homes is an example of a cash buying company that offers a service suited to those people going through divorce and want to avoid the risk of sales falling through on the open market. It is an enormous frustration for many months to pass by during a sale process, only for the sale to fall through at the last minute.

The service of Serene Homes is very simple and involves only three steps. Firstly, get in touch to receive a free online valuation of your property. Secondly, receive a final cash offer for your property following a valuation from a surveyor which Serene Homes pays for. For more information on receiving a free valuation of your house, see our Valuation page. Thirdly, complete the legal process and receive the sale proceeds. All legal fees are covered by Serene Homes.


Once everything is tied off, the sale proceeds can be divided according to what has been previously agreed. As long as an agreement can be reached, there is no need to go to court and incur considerable fees. The proceeds can be sensibly split according to how much money was paid into the property by each party, how long each party was there and any other factors to be considered.

Contact Serene Homes today receive a free valuation of your property and sell your property within as little as 7 days with no risk of the sale falling through.