Divorce: what happens to the family home?

The New Year serves as the most popular time for solicitors to receive enquiries surrounding divorce proceedings, with ‘Divorce Day’ falling on the first working Monday of the year.1

Considered as one of the top 10 most stressful life events2, there are a myriad of choices that will need to be made following separation - one of the most challenging being deciding what to do with the family home.

Before you take any action, it’s a good idea to first speak with your lender, who should offer you a number of options for proceeding  with your mortgage agreement. We also recommend keeping your solicitor in the loop, as they will be able to support you through all of the legalities surrounding divorce proceedings. 

Removing your name from the mortgage

If you decide to remove your name from the mortgage in agreement with your ex-partner, it’s unfortunately not as simple as calling the lender and telling them about your divorce. There are a number of routes you can take with your mortgage when separating. For example, you could have the home remortgaged into the name of the person taking responsibility for the repayments. 

Alternatively, if the lender is in agreement, you could arrange for a transfer of equity from one partner to another to save you going through the entire remortgaging process.

However, if removing your name from the mortgage is the route you decide to take, you’ll no longer be legally obligated to make repayments once your name is no longer on any documentation.

Removing your partner’s name from the mortgage

In the same way as removing your name from a mortgage, it’s entirely possible to remove the name of your ex-spouse, and the process will be the same. 

You’ll need to discuss this with your lender and prove that you can afford the monthly repayments as a sole borrower. 

You need to take into account the fact that interest rates may have changed from when you first took out the mortgage, so you may need to reassess your financial situation. You may also encounter fees, charges, and other costs associated with remortgaging

Selling the home

It may be likely that neither you nor your ex-spouse will manage the mortgage repayments as sole borrowers. In this case, the best option may be to sell the property. However, this can also be a lengthy process, particularly if the housing market is experiencing a lull. 

It’s also possible that the sale of the house won’t cover the mortgage balance if you’re in arrears, which would leave the two of you with a sum to cover. That being said, if you can find a buyer and make a profit on the home, this leaves you both with some extra cash.

Buying your partner’s share

Another potential option is buying out your ex-spouse's share of the mortgage. However, this will only be possible if you qualify for a mortgage as a single person. 

If you're eligible, you could apply to remortgage the property, which could open up options for longer mortgage terms, and this could make your monthly repayments cheaper.

Speak to an adviser 

The separation process is complicated enough without even factoring in remortgages, which is why we recommend speaking to an adviser. They will be able to guide you through the mortgaging process, talking you through all of your options and providing bespoke, tailored advice for your individual circumstances. Your solicitor will be able to advise if you have more complicated concerns regarding costs and other related matters. 


1 Interactive Investor, 2023

2 Benenden Health, 2022



Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

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