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Breaking Up but Have a Mortgage Together? What Happens Next?

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A breakup can be a stressful time as it is, but if there is a joint property involved, it can be an even more worrying time. Read on to find out what your options are and the next steps…

When a relationship ends, there might be a lot of emotions involved, but it’s important to try and take a step back and act logistically and rationally.

If you have a joint property, there are options you can consider when deciding what to do with a joint mortgage, from getting a a transfer of equity quote to selling the house. Make sure to shop around to ensure you are getting the best deal.

In this article, we’ll break down these options in a bit more detail, and provide as much information for you to make an informed decision about what to do next.

Paying the Mortgage After Separation

Remember, that when a relationship ends, if both of your names are on the mortgage, you are still legally required to pay it. If you do not pay on time, there could be serious consequences for both you and your partner.

If your ex-partner refuses to pay, tell your lender and get legal advice before the problem gets worse.

Dividing the Home

When a relationship ends, there are a few options you have with your home and joint mortgage. These include:

1. Selling the home

If you both want to move out and the needs of children aren’t an issue, you can sell the home. You can take a split, based on your mortgage agreement, and put this towards another home.

2. Transferring of equity

Transfer of equity (or transfer of title) refers to the process of adding or removing someone from the ownership of a property. In some cases, this may involve a person passing 100 percent of the property’s ownership; in others, just a share of the equity is passed.

There are many reasons you may wish to undertake a transfer of equity, such as:

  • You and an ex-partner jointly own a house and one of you wants to buy out the other.
  • You want to add a new spouse or partner’s name to the title of a property you solely own.

Make sure you understand your options and seek more advice if you don’t.

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Considering Any Children’s Needs

If you have children, it is important to put their needs first. As a breakup is an upsetting and stressful time for you, your children might also feel the same. Think about where they are going to or need to live to attend the same school, so you are not having to upheave their lives too.

Dividing Personal Possessions

You will have both invested time and money into your home. It is therefore likely that there are shared possessions that you both have a connection to, including furniture, cars and even pets.

It might be hard to decide who keeps what or who is entitled to what, but make sure you only take what you genuinely need and can’t part with. There is no point taking a 3-piece sofa suite if you are moving into a flat that it won’t fit in.

There is no perfect way to decide who gets what, but it is beneficial to do it amicably or through a mediator if you cannot decide between yourselves.

If you have a joint car, make sure you agree who is going to continue making payments (if necessary) and remember to change over any documents.

If you have a joint pet, as with children, it is important to put your pets’ welfare first. For example, if you have children are they attached to the pet? Consider whether you can afford to look after the pet on a single salary and if you have the time on your own.

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Telling People When you Separate

When a relationship comes to an end, you might not be thinking about who you need to inform about your split. However, you will need to consider who is important to inform. For example, it might be necessary to inform:

  • The council tax office
  • Gas, electricity and telephone companies
  • Children’s schools
  • Credit companies
  • Your bank
  • The post office
  • Insurance companies
  • Your GP surgery

This will minimise any other added stress to your breakup later on down the line.

Financial Arrangements

At the end of a relationship, your rights to financial support might differ. If you have children, you will be required to support your child regardless of where they live until the last child is 25, if they are studying full-time.

If you were not married or in a civil partnership at the end of your relationship, you do not have a duty to maintain your ex-partner at the end of a relationship.

To set up financial arrangements, you can go through the Court, Child Maintenance Service or through an agreement.

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Can’t Come to an Agreement After a Breakup?

If you and your ex-partner are struggling to agree on what should happen to your family home after a breakup, it might be necessary to go to Court. However, be warned that this is an expensive and time-consuming process. Therefore, it is better to come to a decision informally or through mediation if you can.

Following these steps can help you to understand what needs to be decided on after a breakup if you have a mortgage together. And, remember to take time for yourself and do things that you find fun to help move on after the break down of a relationship.

If you have any experience in a transfer of equity or selling the house after a breakup, let us know in the comments below.