If you and your spouse or civil partner moved in to a property owned in the sole name of one of you, then on the face of it the other party has no legal ownership of that property. However, upon your marriage or civil partnership, you automatically receive Home Rights, giving you a right to remain in the property. When starting divorce proceedings or considering if you are going to separate, it is important for the party who does not legally own the property to register their Home Rights with the Land Registry as soon as possible. This will prevent the owing party selling or re-mortgaging (with a new provider) the property without your consent or knowledge. As a spouse or civil partner you do have rights to remain in the property despite not being a legal owner, however often people move out upon separation so it is important that your rights to the property are protected on separation until the finances can be resolved.
The process of registering your Home Rights is fairly straight forward, and involves an application being made to the Land Registry. It is important that you seek advice as soon as possible following your separation, so that it can be discussed with you as to whether you need to apply for Home Rights, and ensure this is put in to place for you. It is important however to be aware that the owner will be made aware of this application through notice being sent to them by the Land Registry.
The Home Rights will remain on the property during the entirety of the divorce proceedings, and can only be removed upon the following events:
- The Final Order (previously Decree Absolute) in divorce being granted;
- The death of either person; or
- The beneficiary to the Home Rights agreeing to remove the Notice.
It is therefore important that the Home Rights notice remains in place until the financial arrangements have been agreed, and a Financial Order has been made by the court.
At Ellisons, we are able to assist parties in putting in place a Home Rights Notice, and assisting you with reaching a Financial Order. If you would like some further advice and assistance, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Family team.