My Name is Not on the Mortgage – What are My Rights?
In England and Wales you can apply for matrimonial home rights if you and your husband or wife or civil partner share a property but the mortgage is in their sole name. While this won’t give you the right to ownership of the property, it will mean that you can’t be forced to leave your family home and it can’t be sold without your permission.
When you enter a marriage or civil partnership, you and your husband or wife or civil partner have an interest in each other’s assets (valuables), and often the property that you both live in is your biggest asset. If your name isn’t on the mortgage and you get divorced, things can become very complicated.
Even with home rights, there are certain aspects of your individual living situation that the Court will need to look at in order to decide who has the right to stay in the property. The best thing you can do in this situation is get legal advice, as your rights will depend on your unique circumstances.
Our Divorce Solicitors will talk to you in plain English so you know exactly what’s happening during what can be a very emotional and complicated time. Get in touch for legal advice tailored to you and your situation.
What are Matrimonial Home Rights?
Matrimonial home rights are your rights to live in your family home even if your name is not on the mortgage. This means you cannot be forced to move out of your home, and your husband or wife can't sell it without telling you.
You must register your matrimonial home rights with the Land Registry in order to get the legal documentation that shows your rights to your family home.
This means that if you get divorced, you have a legal document that proves your rights to the property. This could help your case if you don’t want to leave the property after your divorce.
How Do I Apply for Matrimonial Home Rights?
To register your home rights you’ll need:
- The name that’s on the property title deed. This will be your husband or wife's name
- The property title number – you can find this by searching the property register* on the gov.uk website
- To fill in a HR1 document
*If the property isn't registered, you can still apply for home rights by filling in an application for ‘registration of a Class F land charge’, which you can find on the same website. There is a fee of £1 to claim home rights on an unregistered property.
You can't apply for matrimonial home rights on a property that your husband or wife owns with someone else. Also, you can only apply for home rights to one property at a time – your matrimonial home. It is important to remember that matrimonial home rights do not give you any rights to ownership of the property.
Do My Rights Still Stand after Divorce?
If you get divorced, your rights become very dependent on your individual circumstances. The Court has a lot of things to consider when deciding who has a right to your shared property. These might include:
- The length of your marriage
- Your age
- Your earnings
- If you have children and how they will be affected
- Your intentions with the property
If you and your partner can't decide who lives in the property, then it’s best to get legal help from a Solicitor. Our Divorce Solicitors can explain your rights so you know what you’re entitled to.
The Court may also consider why the property is listed under just one person’s name. For example there may be only one name on the mortgage because:
- The property was inherited
- The property was owned by your spouse before you moved in
- You had a bad credit rating at the time of purchase
These factors may determine who has more of a right to live in the property after you get divorced.
Do I Have More Property Rights if I Have Children?
The Court will always put the children’s best interests first. If you are the primary caregiver to your children, the Court could decide that you should remain in the property with your children even if you don't own it.
The Court will also consider that no matter who stays in the property after your divorce, the children still need somewhere suitable to live with each parent.
If you decide that you want a clean break from your spouse, you could agree to an Outright Transfer. This means that the person whose name is on the mortgage buys you out of the property in exchange for a lump sum of money.
An Outright Transfer would mean giving up your rights to live in the property, but the money you get in return could help towards buying a new family home for you and your children.
Speaking to a Family Law Solicitor
Property can be very complicated during divorce and separation, and if your name is not on the mortgage, you should make sure you know what rights you have and how they can be protected.
Our Divorce Solicitors are experts in tailoring their legal advice to specific circumstances and work to take the emotions out of negotiations to minimise conflict and reach an outcome that is in your best interests.
If you live in a shared property but your name isn’t on the mortgage, it’s important that you get legal advice so that you know exactly what you’re entitled to.
For initial legal advice call our Family Law and Divorce Solicitors
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