Joint Mortgage, Split Up, Not Married UK – What Is My Legal Position?
If you are in the process of separating from your partner with whom you have a joint mortgage, it is essential to understand your ongoing rights and responsibilities under the mortgage. Our expert family law solicitors frequently advise clients whose relationship has broken down and who are keen to understand the answer to the question ‘What is the position when we have a joint mortgage, split up and are not married under UK law?’
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Joint Mortgage, Split Up And Not Married UK – Your Ongoing Responsibilities
When you take out a joint mortgage
with your partner, you are both responsible for repaying the loan in full. This means that if one of you stops making payments, the other person will be responsible for the entire amount. You must, therefore, both continue to make your mortgage repayments as you did before your separation. If you don’t, the lender may repossess the property, your credit score may be negatively impacted, and you may struggle to secure another mortgage.
Joint Mortgage, Split Up And Not Married UK – Your Ongoing Rights
When you take out a joint mortgage
with your partner, you own the property jointly. However, your shares in the property are not necessarily 50% each – you can agree on the proportions when making your mortgage application.
Regardless of the percentage of the property you own, you have legal rights over it, and are entitled to a share of the equity. Your legal rights continue when your relationship ends. In this regard, you are in a far stronger position than those individuals who cohabit with their partner
but do not own a legal share of the property. If their relationship ends, their rights are extremely limited, no matter how long they have lived there.
Joint Mortgage, Split Up And Not Married UK – Your options
If you and your partner have a joint mortgage, split up and are not married, there are several options available to you. The most appropriate will depend on several factors, including whether your separation was amicable, your financial position and the needs of any children.
Examples of your options include the following:
• Option 1: Sell the property and split the proceeds.
This can be a good option if neither of you wants to keep the property or if you cannot agree on how to divide the equity. If you decide to sell the property, you will need to agree on a sale price and split the equity according to your ownership shares.
• Option 2: One partner buys out the other
Another option is for one partner to buy out the other’s share of the property. This can be a good bet if you wish to keep the property and are able to afford to buy your ex-partner’s share and make the mortgage payments on your own.
If you decide to go down this route, you and your ex-partner will need to agree on a fair price for the buyout and ensure that the mortgage lender is willing to transfer the mortgage into your sole name. For them to do so, the lender will need to be satisfied that you can meet your repayments. You will, therefore, need to pass their eligibility criteria based on your sole income.
• Option 3: Continue jointly owning the property
If neither of you wants to sell the property or buy out the other’s share, you can continue to jointly own the property. This can be a sensible option if you are able to agree on how to divide the mortgage payments and other expenses associated with the property. However, it is important to note that continuing to jointly own a property can be risky, as if your ex-partner stops making their mortgage payments, you will be liable to cover both yours and theirs.
Many couples who choose this option decide to rent the property out, with the intention that the rental income will cover the mortgage and any associated expenses. You would, of course, then have joint responsibilities as landlords, and would need to come to an agreement as to how you will fulfil them.
Joint Mortgage, Split Up And Not Married UK – How We Can Help
If you have a joint mortgage, split up and are not married, our expert family solicitors
are on hand to help you understand your legal position and advise you on the best course of action. Since you jointly own the property, you are in a strong legal position, and are entitled to a share of the property in line with the percentage you own.
However, our solicitors understand that the breakdown of a relationship can be an incredibly stressful experience, and the prospect of a dispute with your ex-partner over what should happen to your home only serves to exacerbate the strain. Our solicitors strive to reduce the burden by ensuring you are in the best possible position and a fair outcome is achieved in the quickest, most cost-effective way and through the least acrimonious means possible.
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