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My Ex Has Stopped Paying the Mortgage — What Next?

A divorce is usually a stressful and emotional event — more so when it involves joint home ownership. If your ex has stopped paying the mortgage, it’s important to understand your legal position and your responsibilities.

We’ve put together a short guide on what to do when a joint homeowner neglects their financial obligations.

Who is liable when a partner stops paying the mortgage?

If your name is on the mortgage, you’re liable for the repayments — whether or not you’ve been responsible for them in the past. If your partner suddenly stops making payments and you fall into arrears, your credit rating will be affected. And you’ll be jointly liable for any interest charges and fees.

Couple managing the debt. Ex stopped paying the mortgage

I want to stay in the property

If you want to live in the property even though your partner has stopped making mortgage repayments, your options might be limited. Contact your lender to explain the situation. There may be the option of a payment holiday or reducing the monthly repayments somehow. As long as you’re honest and communicate regularly, your lender might respond to your requests favourably.

But this is only a short-term solution. Sooner or later, your mortgage company will demand monthly repayments in full — along with any arrears due. If you have a steady income, you have the option of taking on the mortgage repayments yourself. However, doing so without a legal agreement in place regarding ownership of the property doesn’t improve your claim to it.

The best course of action is to appoint a solicitor to deal with the issue of property ownership. If you’re determined to stay in the home, you have the option of making an offer for your ex’s share.

I want to leave the property

My ex has stopped paying the mortgage

If you can’t afford the repayments on your own, or you want to move on, you can sell the house. However, you’ll need the permission of your ex — even if they’ve stopped making repayments.

Sell your house fast, and split what’s left after the mortgage has been settled. But remember: you might have to pay an early settlement fee. And you’ll need to pay any arrears and penalty charges using the proceeds of the sale.

Exactly how the proceeds of a house sale are split depends on the circumstances of the divorce. You can either agree on percentages between you or go to court and leave the decision to a judge. If you’ve been paying the mortgage on your own for several months, you might feel you’re owed more than half the equity.

What happens to my home if we have children?

If dependent children under the age of 18 are involved, the process is a little different. In most cases, the primary caregiver will get the right to remain in the property until all of the children turn 18. A judge might decide this even if your spouse wants to sell the house. The court will usually force your partner to contribute to the mortgage during this time. Alternatively, you might be in a position to buy your partner’s share of the property outright.

Dealing with property ownership during a messy divorce is often complex and very stressful. If you’re determined to sell up and move on as quickly as possible, we can help. We buy houses fast — and for up to 100 per cent of their value.

Your property rights – splitting the house if you split up

How do you split the house if you split up, what are your property rights?

What property rights do you have when splitting up from partner or spouse?

Splitting up is never an easy thing. It can be even harder if you have a house together with a mortgage – but do you know your property rights?

Top 1o reasons couples split:

  1. Bad behaviour – smoking, drinking, betting, etc
  2. Cheating – was it a kiss or a full-blown affair
  3. Misdirected anger – you’ve had a bad day, now everyone must suffer
  4. Being unsupportive – work as a team, or it won’t work
  5. Toxic people – may be a control issue or a negative influence
  6. No affection and attention – listening, hand holding, cuddling, (and yes, sex)
  7. Lying – do it, and your mate will lose all trust in you
  8. Stealing – financial issues account for over 30% of divorces
  9. Giving up – it’s what happens when you don’t put the hard work in
  10. Not communicating – the more you talk, the better you will feel

Infographic – Top ten reasons why couples split up

Here’s a quick guide on your legal rights if you split up from your other half and own a property together, mainly if you want to sell it.

Property Rights – Joint Ownership

If you and your partner both have your names on the title deeds, then you jointly own your home, in which case you have equal rights over the property.

In this situation your options are as follows:

  • > Sell the property, divide the proceeds
  • > One buys the other out
  • > Transfer some or all your interest in the home to your partner
  • > Keep the home and rent it out

There are two ways you can have joint ownership:

  1. Joint Tenants – both parties have a 50/50 equal share in the property.
  2. Tenants in Common – one party has more of a share than the other. If you and your partner/spouse split up and want to end the Joint Tenancy, then you need to write to your ex to inform them. However, they don’t have to agree to go along with it.

Another route is for one party to come off the mortgage – leaving it in just one name which is only possible if the person remaining on the mortgage can afford the repayments on their own. However, it can be beneficial to the person coming off the mortgage as they will no longer be responsible for future repayments and they can apply for another mortgage on another property. If you go down this route, then you also need to ensure that your credit files are separated too, as any future debts or loans could personally affect you, and vice-versa, if you remain connected.

If you remain on the mortgage, then it is wise to contact your mortgage lender to explain that you and your partner/spouse have separated. Doing this will prevent your either party from taking cash out by increasing the mortgage on the property or even taking out other loans on the property without your knowledge or consent. They can also help you if you’re unsure you can manage the payments as you no longer have your partner/spouse contributing towards it. One way is a ‘guarantor mortgage’ – it allows a close friend or relative to pay your mortgage payments for you if you find yourself struggling.

If the Property is in One Person’s Name

If your property is in just one name, then the other person has no rights over the property or any money from the sale after the mortgage has been paid off.

However, if you have paid part of the mortgage, or towards any improvements to the property, then you are eligible for a ‘beneficial interest’ in the home. If you claim this, then you may be entitled to continue to live in the property and even get a share of the proceeds when it sells.

Note: this is a very complicated legal area, and we recommend that you first seek advice from a legal practitioner.

Should you and your partner/spouse decide that selling your home is the best option, then Flying Homes can help. Our buyers will offer you a fair cash sum and can complete in your timescales. All parties legal fees are usually included, so that’s another thing off your mind and you won’t have to worry about property chains!

If separating or divorcing then read more here.

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