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What happens to a joint mortgage after separating?

Older couple sad because they have to deal with a Joint mortgage after separating

What happens to a joint mortgage after separating?

When a couple separates, the fate of a joint mortgage can become a significant concern. In the case of a joint mortgage after separating, there are a few potential scenarios.

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

What happens to a joint mortgage after separating?

The most straightforward option is for both parties to continue sharing the mortgage and making payments as agreed upon in their original mortgage agreement. However, this can be challenging if the separation is acrimonious, and communication breaks down.


In such cases, the most common option is to sell the property and split proceeds, using them to pay off the joint mortgage. Another alternative is for one person to buy out the other’s share of the property, effectively assuming the full responsibility for the mortgage.


Alternatively, if neither party can afford to buy out the other or continue with the mortgage, they may choose to request a mortgage modification or refinance to separate their financial obligations. 

How can I sell my joint owned house when I have just come out of a relationship?

Selling a jointly owned house after a relationship ends involves several steps. First, both parties need to agree on the sale and terms, including the asking price and how to split the profit. 


Once you’ve agreed, you can list the property for sale with an estate agent. After a buyer is found, the sale proceeds are used to pay off the existing mortgage, and any remaining funds are split according to your agreement.

What should I do if I have a joint mortgage with an ex partner?

If you find yourself in the situation of having a joint mortgage with an ex-partner, it’s essential to take several steps to address this financial tie. Although it may seem difficult, keeping a clear open line of communication is crucial. 


You will need to have an honest conversation with your ex-partner about the joint mortgage and explore your potential options. 


If you have a joint mortgage after separating, you each have the right to live within the property, but also equally responsible for paying the mortgage repayments. 


Joint mortgages between two people mean they are financially tied, so if you fall into arrears or missed mortgage payments it will impact both parties’ credit file. This may impact your chance of getting a new mortgage or any other form of finance. 


We would recommend using a legal or financial advisor who can help you navigate the complexities of separating from a joint mortgage with an ex-partner, as this can involve legal obligations and financial implications that should be managed carefully to protect both parties’ interest.

What are your matrimonial rights?

When living together as a couple, your house is considered as a joint asset even if there is only one partner’s name on the title deeds. Which means that no one can legally be forced to leave the property while they’re still officially together. 


If a mortgage was taken out in one partner’s name before the two partners got married, the other partner will have less of a claim to the property unless there is a prenuptial agreement in place. 


If the property is only listed in the partner’s name then you should be able to obtain a Notice of Home Rights from the Land Registry to help prevent your property from being sold without your given permission.

Should you take your joint mortgage ex-partner to court?

Unfortunately, joint mortgage after separations can get very complex if neither partners are in agreement about what to do about the family home. The very act of going to court is extremely stressful and can be very expensive, which is why it is recommended that you resolve issues through mediation or informally. 


If you cannot resolve your joint mortgage after separating, you may have to allow the court to settle your mortgage dispute. If there are children involved in the case, then the courts will prioritise their wellbeing.

What joint mortgage options are available after a break-up?

There are plenty of options to consider with a joint mortgage after separating, which should hopefully end any disagreements you may have with your partner and allow you to move on:

When you have a joint mortgage after separating, the most common option is to sell the property, pay off the mortgage together and then split the profit. 


Unfortunately, some people may find themselves in negative equity which would have to be paid off between the two parties. And, if there are children in the picture, or one or both partners are unwilling to sell, then another solution will need to be sought.

If you are able to communicate effectively with your ex-partner, and you are reaching the end of your mortgage term, then you could continue making payments until the loan is paid off. Then, at the end you can split the profit.

A common solution for families on joint mortgage after separating is where one partner wants to live within the home and can afford the mortgage payments alone, then they can buy the other partner out of the mortgage. 


You could also move the mortgage into your name by contacting your mortgage lender and check they are happy for you to do so, who will ask for proof that you have a high enough salary to keep up with the mortgage repayments.


If you are looking to buy your ex-partner out, you can either do it informally or through a solicitor. You could evenly split the property, and calculate how much of the mortgage you have already repaid and divide it by two — which you would then give to your partner and their share of the deposit.

If you don’t meet the mortgage lenders affordability criteria but wish to take over the entire mortgage, then you can use a guarantor who signs a legal declaration saying that they will cover the repayments if you are unable to do so. 


The guarantor could be a family member, but they will need to pass the mortgage lenders affordability criteria.

If you want to move out of the property but still benefit from the sale of the home, then you could transfer part of its value to your ex-partner. 


The other partner would own the majority of the property but you would retain a stake so both partners would then receive a percentage of the profits.

You can take out a Mesher or Martin order if you live in England and Wales which can help resolve family home disputes in the event of divorce. 


Mesher Order

A Mesher Order or Order for Deferred Sale, is a family court order which allows a house sale to be postponed due to a separating couple who have children living within the property. One partner is able to stay within the property until a pre-decided family event happens, like the children go to university. 


Martin Order

A Martin Order is suitable for joint mortgage after separating where one partner wants to postpone the sale of the property so they can continue living in the home. 


If a Martin Order is agreed, then one partner can stay within the property for the rest of their life and the property cannot be sold unless the ex-partner dies, remarries or moves out.

How do I remove my partner from a joint mortgage?

Even if you are not in a joint mortgage after separation and are just looking for financial freedom or need to think about your credit responsibility, there are two avenues that must be taken when removing an ex-partner from a joint mortgage; legal and mortgage work. 


As long as all parties agree to the legal process, it can be fairly straightforward as the solicitors will set up the legal charge with the mortgage lender and those named on the property ownership according to the HM Land Registry.


You will need to notify the mortgage advisor and solicitor that you want a transfer of equity and the solicitors will send out title transfer documents and normal remortgage pack for you to complete. 


Once all parties have agreed, it can take as little as a day before the application is approved. But, if one party does not agree, then there can be a very expensive legal battle which will result in the house being sold anyway. 


The mortgage process, on the other hand, starts by reviewing your current mortgage agreement and determining whether you should shop around looking at new mortgage terms or staying with your current deal. 


If you are not tied to a current mortgage deal, or if the mortgage repayment penalties are worthwhile, then you could switch to another mortgage lender and get a far cheaper rate elsewhere.


Even if you stay on the same mortgage deal, you will need to fill out a new application so the mortgage provider can assess whether you are creditworthy and can afford to make repayments. 


You will need to provide your current situation, current income, current credit history and then they will credit score you and ask for bank statements, proof of income and re-value the property. 


If your mortgage application is accepted then the solicitors will supply you with all the necessary paperwork and once all the documents have been signed, then they’ll let the mortgage lender know to complete. 


If your mortgage application is not accepted, then you should seek financial advice who will be able to provide you with tailored advice. 

Joint mortgage after separating: FAQs

Can one person come off of a joint mortgage?

Yes, one person can come off a joint mortgage, but it typically requires the cooperation of both parties and approval from the mortgage provider which can be difficult if you have a joint mortgage after separating. 


Once common way to do this is through a process known as mortgage release or transfer of equity, where the person who wants to be removed from the mortgage sells or transfers their share of the property to the other person, effectively relinquishing their financial responsibility.

Does it cost to remove someone from a mortgage?

Removing someone from a mortgage will involve costs, such as legal fees, valuation fees and potentially early repayment charges if the mortgage needs to be modified or refinanced. 


The specific costs will vary depending on your mortgage lender, the terms of your mortgage agreement and the complexity of the process.

Can I remove my name from a joint mortgage UK?

Whether you’re in a joint mortgage after separating, looking for financial independence or need the funds to purchase a new home, you will be able to remove your name from a joint mortgage. 


In the UK, you can remove your name from a joint mortgage through a process called transfer of equity which involves selling your share of the property to the other owner or having them refinance the mortgage in their name alone. 


It’s essential to work with a solicitor to handle the legal aspects and ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to protect your interests.

How do you split up when you own a house together?

When you own a house together and want to split up, there are several options to consider. 


You can either sell the property and divide the proceeds, buy out your partner’s share of the property if financially feasible, or come to a mutual agreement about how to handle the property and mortgage — legal advice and a clear separation agreement can help navigate this process.

I’m in a joint mortgage, can I be forced to sell?

In some cases, if you are in a joint mortgage but split up and cannot come to an agreement with your ex-partner on how to handle the property a legal process called a partition sale may be initiated, which could potentially force the sale of a property. 


The partition sale is used when co-owners of a property cannot agree on how to divide or use the property, and it becomes necessary to sell it to divide the profits amongst the owners.