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House deeds - proving share in a house. Help please

(15 Posts)
TeeBee Mon 19-Nov-12 10:03:54

I'm totally confused. Husband keeps saying he wants a divorce. I want to make sure that my stake in our house is water tight. He bought the house we live in and had a mortgage on it. I owned another property. When we got together, he moved into my house initially and rented his house out. Then we moved to his house when I got pregnant, I sold mine and paid off the remaining mortgage on 'his' house with the profits from my house. He had already paid off half of the mortgage, then I paid the rest off. So, as far as I can see it, we each own half of the house.

I have asked him previously to get the house deeds registered in both of our names so I feel secure that I have equal say on the house. He spoke to the solicitor about it but I never did see any actual paperwork. What documentation do I actually need? Is it the house deeds that need changing (I think I remember the solicitor saying that it was all done electronically - but I don't buy that. I want hard evidence), or does my name just need to be on the mortgage (we have a small mortgage to cover some building work we had done)?

As you can see, totally confused. If anyone can help, I'd be grateful. Thank you.

prh47bridge Mon 19-Nov-12 11:17:13

You don't need to change anything. Your stake in the house is watertight because you are married. The house is an asset of the marriage. Whether or not your name is on the deeds or the mortgage will have absolutely no bearing on the financial settlement.

TeeBee Mon 19-Nov-12 11:31:12

Thanks Bridge. But could he force a sale without my permission if my name is not on the deeds? Or is that for a judge to decide?

RedHelenB Mon 19-Nov-12 16:07:26

You can register an interest in the property that would stop him from being able to sell from under you.

babybarrister Mon 19-Nov-12 18:20:02

Have a look at resolution web site and get yourself a specialist family lawyer as you do need to protect yourself ASAP as redhelen said .... Rest assured the house is not excluded from consideration in matrimonial potsmile

sittinginthesun Mon 19-Nov-12 18:23:24

As above - also, the deeds will be held electronically by the Land Registry. You can apply for a copy.

You do need to sort this out though. The house will be included in the pot in a divorce, but it is possible to put a restriction on the deeds to stop a sale in the meantime, if it is still in your husband's name.

TeeBee Mon 19-Nov-12 19:19:48

Thank you all. I will apply for a copy of the deeds as I suspect that solicitor put my name on them but I need reassurance.

sicutlilium Mon 19-Nov-12 20:57:10

Easy to do, costs £3:
www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/online-services

GreatBallsofFluff Mon 19-Nov-12 21:33:14

I would be surprised if your solicitor was able to put your name on the title register if you don't remember signing anything, specifically a TR1.

babybarrister Tue 20-Nov-12 07:52:07

You cannot transfer a property into your name online if it is not already in yourname. What you may be able to do is to register some type of restriction based on your matrimonial richts if the property is solely in his name - go and get some proper advice smile

sicutlilium Tue 20-Nov-12 07:56:33

baby "Easy to do" just meant "easy to check" (ownership) online.

olgaga Tue 20-Nov-12 09:17:25

You might find this useful:

Relationship Breakdown and Divorce – Advice and Links (V4 Nov 2012)

It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.

Children

The welfare, needs and interests of children are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be “fairly” divided between separating parents.

A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (“Statement of Arrangements for Children”). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - “Residence and Contact” regarding children, “Financial Order” or “Ancillary Relief” in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.

Always see a specialist family lawyer!

Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who don’t know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation – there’s a lot of knowledge and support out there!

Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Don’t just stick with the first lawyer you find – shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor you’re happy with.

If you can’t find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
If you take legal action to protect yourself or your family from domestic violence, you may qualify for legal aid without having to meet the normal financial conditions. The income of an abusive partner will not be taken into account when deciding whether you qualify for legal aid.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
https://www.gov.uk/community-legal-advice
Or search in your area for Community Legal Advisors:
legaladviserfinder.justice.gov.uk/AdviserSearch.do
Here is the Gov.uk guide to divorce which includes a link to CAB advice at the foot of the first page:
https://www.gov.uk/divorce

Rights of Women have a helpline on 020 7251 6577 and helpful advice on their website.
www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/adviceline.php

Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:
www.co-operative.coop/legalservices/family-and-relationships/

You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:
www.resolution.org.uk/

and here:
www.divorceaid.co.uk/

Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients – Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.

Mediation

You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.

If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so it’s important to have that first.

You can find a Mediator here:
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk/find-service.php

Married or Living Together?

This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.

Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here:
www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/relationships_e/relationships_living_together_marriage_and_civil_partnership_e/living_together_and_marriage_legal_differences.htm#Ending_a_relationship

www.advicenow.org.uk/living-together/

Gov.uk advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:
https://www.gov.uk/browse/births-deaths-marriages/marriage-divorce

Issues around contact are further explored here:
https://www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities
www.rightsofwomen.org.uk/legal.php#children_relationship_breakdown
www.maypole.org.uk/
www.cafcass.gov.uk/media/2909/TimeforChildren.pdf

I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read – there are others of course:
www.family-lawfirm.co.uk/uploaded/documents/Surviving-Family-Conflict-and-Divorce---2nd-edition.pdf

www.terry.co.uk/hindex.html

Finance

Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements – savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?
There is a useful divorce and separation calculator here:
https://www.gov.uk/money-property-when-relationship-ends

If you cannot access financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. Again you will be encouraged to go to mediation (link as above).

If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway.
If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order.
During this process, parties have to declare financial information going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.

If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):

1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.

CSA maintenance calculator:
www.csacalculator.dsdni.gov.uk/calc.asp

Handy tax credits calculator:
www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits/payments-entitlement/entitlement/question-how-much.htm#7

Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:
www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/

CAB Benefits Check:
www.citizensadvice.co.uk/getadvice/benefit-calculator/A2B-Benefit-Calculator/#730

Parenting issues:
www.familylives.org.uk
www.theparentconnection.org.uk

Other Support – Children, Housing, Domestic Violence
www.womensaid.org.uk/ and refuge.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 2000 247
www.ncdv.org.uk/ - Helpline 0844 8044 999
www.gingerbread.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 802 0925
Housing www.england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/families_and_relationships/relationship_breakdown
(Note that on many advice websites there is usually an appropriate link for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ).
Sometimes links change or break – if there is a problem or any of the above needs updating, please let me know.

TeeBee Tue 20-Nov-12 13:03:29

Thanks everyone, that's really helpful.

TeeBee Tue 20-Nov-12 13:11:09

Thanks Sicutlilium, I've just done that and realised that they are indeed only in his name. Right, a job for this week then! Does anyone know how to change them - is it a job for the solicitor (even though I have been told they had done this already). Do I have to pay for them to do it?

babybarrister Tue 20-Nov-12 13:24:31

You cannot just go about getting the house transferred - it ISA part of the divorce proceedings so go and get a good solicitor - have a look at the resolution website. In the meantime you need to protect yourself by registering some type of notice at the land registry - please,please go and get some detailed advicesmile

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