Divorce and Property Owned Before Marriage

Married couples often buy property and a range of other assets together, but what happens to property owned before the marriage began if the couple decides to divorce?

Many people in the UK are uncertain about who gets ownership of pre-marital assets in divorce cases, and knowing what happens to property owned by one spouse is particularly tricky.

There are a range of variables that can effect what happens to property when a couple divorces, including how long they’ve been married, how long each person has lived in the property, and how much each of them earn. If children are involved, deciding who gets the house in a divorce can sometimes make the process even more complex.

There are a range of ways property ownership can be decided during and after a divorce. The best way to figure out what’s right for you is to seek legal advice from specialised divorce lawyers.

Our family law solicitors want to make it easy for you to understand what happens to property you owned before your marriage when you and your spouse divorce.

divorce and property owned before marriage

Divorce, Property and Other Assets Owned Before Marriage

When it comes to divorce and property owned by one person before marriage, it can be difficult to establish who should get what. If you and your partner get along, the process may be a little easier, but if you don’t then it can become long and complicated.

Other than property, the assets that can be distributed in your divorce include:

  • Investments
  • Businesses
  • Expensive possessions such as jewellery and cars
  • Pension funds

Often in divorce, both individuals believe they deserve certain assets, including property, and it’s difficult for them to take a step back and look at the situation fairly. This is why sometimes it’s necessary to get the court involved.

Sometimes, couples don’t realise how much their individual and shared assets are worth, which is why it’s important to seek financial and/or legal advice and guidance as soon as you and your spouse decide to divorce.

Do you need help dividing your assets in your divorce? We could help you.

Is a House Owned Before Marriage Marital Property in the UK?

Whether your house or other property is considered ‘marital property’ will depend on a range of things, such as how long your marriage was and how financially independent each of you are.

If your home was bought by your soon-to-be ex-spouse before your marriage, but has been lived in as the marital home since you got married, the property is likely to be considered a marital asset. This means that you could have a claim to at least a portion of its value.

However, if you never lived in the property as your marital home, then your chances of successfully claiming for a share of the home are quite slim. Of course, if you can demonstrate to the court that you will be significantly worse off without funds from selling or renting out the property, your claim may be considered.

How is a House Divided in a Divorce?

In the same way that your assets are distributed, how the value of your house is divided in your divorce depends on your circumstances as a couple and individuals.

It’s important to note that the family home is given a special status in any sort of divorce or separation court proceedings, so even if you aren’t named on the title deeds or mortgage you may be entitled to a share in the home’s value. You would have to apply for a ‘matrimonial homes right’ notice to be able to claim your share.

A financial agreement is usually the best way to establish how your home will be divided in your divorce, and can include property owned by either you or your partner before the marriage. The agreement can only become legally binding if it is confirmed in a consent order, which is a legal document drafted by a specialist divorce solicitor. A financial agreement and consent order can also determine what happens with individual and shared money, savings and investments.

Unfortunately, there is no simple, black-and-white answer when it comes to who gets property owned before marriage. Instead, if you can’t agree who should get the home, the court will award both each of you a share in the way they think is fairest.

Are you concerned about your divorce and property you owned before your marriage? Our team can help you.

Who Gets the House in a Divorce with Children?

Who gets the house in a divorce where children are involved can be complicated, especially if both you and your spouse believe you should be allowed to stay living there.

If the matter can be settled outside of court, it will be. Your divorce solicitor and your spouse’s divorce solicitor will work together to attempt to determine what is best for your children. You may be advised to attend mediation, where you will hopefully come to an agreement about your property that is in your children’s best interests.

If you cannot agree, you and your spouse will have to let the court decide who is awarded the house in the divorce. A judge will make housing arrangements in the best interests of your children, but bear in mind that the judge’s decision may not necessarily favour you.

We’re Here to Help You

Here at AWH we understand how difficult it can be to begin divorce proceedings, let alone beginning to think about who gets to stay in your family home. That’s why we always do our best to make sure our clients understand everything they need to know about property owned before marriage and divorce.

We pride ourselves on our client care, our transparency and our ability to help those in need. We can help with a range of family separation matters, including financial consent orders, legal separation agreements, and of course property in divorce proceedings.

Establishing who gets the family property in your divorce doesn’t have to be stressful, and with our support your divorce will be finalised in the way that’s best for you.

If you need any help and advice with family separation matters such as divorce, contact our team today for genuine, caring support when you need it most.

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