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Ask A Family Lawyer: “If our home was owned outright by my spouse before we married, is it mine too?”

Question: Our family home was owned outright by my wife before I married her and moved in 10 years ago. Does the property belong to me too? I moved out of our home last month, after my wife told me she wanted a divorce. We have one child, aged eight.  

Our Solicitor Replies: When parties separate, all the matrimonial assets will need to be identified and valued before any settlement proposals can be considered. Often the largest asset is the family home and this will fall to be considered irrespective of who legally owns it.   The Court has the power to make orders against matrimonial assets regardless of how they are owned and by whom; the overriding concern of the Court is the welfare of your child, and this will be the main factor in determining how the assets are split.  Your spouse may argue that the property is non-matrimonial, having been purchased prior to the marriage, but this is unlikely to carry weight given the comments in the leading case of White-v-White.  Matrimonial homes will be treated differently.

Even if you are not named as a legal owner of any property on the title deeds (this can be established by your solicitor making enquiries of the Land Registry), you may have acquired a beneficial interest.  Further, by virtue of being married, you continue to have a legal right of occupation of your own home.

If you are not a legal owner i.e. your name is not on the title deeds, you should instruct your solicitor to act quickly and register your right to possession of the property and your interest in it by entering a Home Rights Notice at the Land Registry. This will help to protect your interest by making it difficult for your spouse to evict you, sell or remortgage the property. Further information may be obtained from the Land Registry:-

If you have been entered on the title deeds during the course of the marriage as a co-owner it is important to ascertain how the title is held by each of you.  There are two ways of legally owning property: as joint tenants; or as tenants in common.

What are Joint Tenants?

This form of ownership gives you and your spouse joint and equal ownership of the whole property.  This means that your share in the property is not distinguished from that of your spouse and that you must act together in dealing with it i.e. in the event of remortgage or sale.

As your share is not distinct, you are unable to gift your interest under your Will. Your interest will simply pass to your spouse automatically upon death.

What are Tenants in Common?

Under this form of ownership, whilst the property is still jointly owned, you and your spouse have separate and distinct shares.  The respective shares can be divided into any proportions which are often determined by monetary contributions.

In direct contrast to owning as joint tenants, tenants in common are able to remortgage or sell their respective shares with consent from the other owners; additionally their respective share will pass in accordance with their Will upon death.

Severing the Joint Tenancy

In the event of separation many spouses do not wish their share to pass automatically to their spouse and there is a simple process to change the ownership to Tenants in Common which your solicitor will guide you through. If you do take this step, please note that it is also imperative to update your will to ensure that the property then passes to your named beneficiaries.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Luke says:

    He can use the money from the house to pay his spousal support 🙂
    If he doesn’t have to pay spousal support then he shouldn’t morally ask for part of a house he didn’t help buy – but no doubt he will.

    • sabrina says:

      My husband co owns property with his ex girlfriend. We want to know what rights I have to his half if any? Many thanks

    • JamesB says:

      There is a deal to be done. No spousal and no child support, no claim on the property.

      Alternatively, the opposite.

      Worst I saw round where I am is where husband brought up children and paid lump sum and spousal support and ex wife did not pay. That was unfair. The law (MCA 1973) is not fair. I agree that people best sort things out between them then go to court.

      • Annie says:

        I am deperate to find out something agently. My ex husband (seperated 3 years now) and I have three children. 50:50 join care. And just found out he sold our house in London last Nov! We living on gornverment benefit and he pays £1 per week for all three children as child maintenance. I do not have name on the house, I didn’t acquire the interest on the house. I know I am being fool but what can I do now? Please anyone who read this give me some advice? I am non english and feel like whole world against me and the children

    • Bob Marley says:

      I agree luke

  2. Mark Slater says:

    Perhaps you might also comment on how the situation would be different if the house in question was in a foreign country to which you have no right to enter without a special visa. How then could you enter a Home Rights notice at the Land Registry? And how, if there was no mortgage, no work done on the property, no children, could you acquire a beneficial interest in the property?

  3. Yvonne Gutsell says:

    Can a Notice of Home Rights be challenged in a court? My daughter left he home because she was frightened by a very abusive husband. She bought the house with her money and he has placed a Notice of Home Rights on it.

    • Les Smith says:

      Hi about 7 years ago and prior to our marriage,my wife purchased a property outright as an investment.This was from assets acquired from her previous marriage and was in her sole name
      We married 4 years ago and purchased a further house in joint names.I put in cash and she covered her half by way of mortgage and cash.She retained the aforementioned investment property,which has been rented to date.I have not received any financial benefits from rent etc.
      Now we are in the throws of divorce and I wondered if I have any claim on that property and she is claimin half of our current home?

      • Les Smith says:

        Hi I submitted a question on 28/12/16,but still no reply.Can you help?

        • Marilyn Stowe says:

          Thanks for your question. I do try and answer questions when I have time but you will appreciate I cant answer them all. However whilst I would say overall you should seek legal advice the legal position is that all assets which belong to the couple whether acquired before or during the marriage are available for sharing on divorce. If the reasonable needs of the parties can be met without recourse to non matrimonial assets such as pre owned assets or assets inherited or gifted to one of the parties, then those assets will be ring fenced from division. The court will take other factors into account in determining needs so I cant give you a specific answer and would need more facts. Again, I suggest you take your own legal advice for tailored advice.
          I hope this helps


  4. Andrew says:

    Yvonne: I don’t know whether it can be challenged but whatever could be said on a challenge can be said in divorce proceedings. The Notice stops the house being sold in the meantime and so it should.

  5. RT says:

    I had a house in London when I married my american husband purchased in 1992 , We never lived in London or in the house, I have a mortgage of 55,000and have made payments from my personal bank account in London, never of money coming from our joint bank accounts in the US , my husband and I lived for the majority of the time in a house bought jointly in the US, does he have any claim on my London house

  6. Julie says:

    My husband of 5 years has told me to leave and as I am not on the deeds or mortage to the house what are my rights.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Julie
      He can’t do this. It doesn’t matter if your name is on the deeds or not. The only way you or he can be obliged to leave the house against your will is with a court order. You don’t need to go and my advise is to see a solicitor immediately, you may need an injunction perhaps to remove him which is possible even though he owns the property’s his threats continue.

      • Cathy mercier says:

        Need help been married for 4 years I been told by my husband for over year now to get out not my house your name not on the deed of the house .and he works away from home and not home for months dosent send me but more then 200 a month to buy what ever I need and this amount don’t buy much in a month .with him abuse me with telling me I’m nothing but a problem in are marrige did have a disability check before marrige but cause he mskes to much I loose it so I am abused with financial also guess my question is do I need to leave he said he get court order and I also said if I need money I would sell things if need two he will charge me .can he?

  7. Luke says:

    “The Court has the power to make orders against matrimonial assets regardless of how they are owned and by whom;”
    EXACTLY. She (in this case) was stupid enough to sign the marriage certificate and now she has little control over her own life – Family Court now can asset strip her at will – and make her pay legal fees for the privilege…

  8. Darrell Hardy says:

    I recently married my partner and we live in her home (owned outright by her) but i did put money into the property for rennovations and such before we married. I spent around £10-15K and the house is valued around £100K. How would I stand? If we split, would I at least be entitled to some part of it? I.E the amount I paid into it

  9. Steve says:

    Hi, heres a good one.. wife left me for some one else 4 years ago… I live in house with her name on it.. she keeps putting lodgers in and I am crammed into one room now.. she wont remove them.. can I chuck them out? One is particularly unpleasant.. police say I am his landlord.. which I am not .. at least on paper..
    I am being forced out by this guy .. he is aggressive and steals stuff..
    Cheers, Steve..

    • JamesB says:

      Divorce her and sort it out as part of the divorce.

    • RF says:

      My huband owned the property when we got married 15 year he is very controlling I’m sick now. No insurance for me he has it.i think I should get some money.but not sure what to do nect5

    • annie speller says:

      I have a letter to state that i made a loan to my husband’s property in 1994 but the judge states that i made an investment so therefore I cannot have the return of my loan

  10. LEIGH says:

    I own my house. My husband of 31/2 years moved in & lived there in total of 8 years. He was bankrupt when we met. I paid the mortgage he paid utility bills. He left me for someone else. He now has instructed the land registry saying he has interest in my property. Can he do this? His bankruptcy has now lifted & he has moved on to pastures new.

  11. Kim Filomarino says:

    Well I have a property that was purchased 10 years before I married. Since marrying we never lived in the property as I had rented it out for my 5 years of marry. Now my husband as applied for s notice of interest

  12. Tricia says:

    I owned several properties outright before meeting my husband, and only my name is on them and no money of his was ever used in connection with them, will he be entitled to what I considered my sole assets now we are divorcing? I understand that our marital home brought since we got together will be split between us and that seems fair.
    Also we had individual accounts as well as joint accounts, in divorce are all accounts divided up or just the joint ones?

  13. Tony says:


    I got a divorce a few years ago at the time of my divorce my ex moved to the U.S. She took all of the bank accounts with her and transferred £50,000 from our joint account emptied it basically. I had paid in £30,000 as I was going to join her in America as she had a new job over there and I stayed behind to finalise our house sale ect. A solicitor friend of hers dealt with the sale and then ultimately the divorce and when it came to the financial settlement her solicitor stated that she was unable to trace her. This was a lie and I’am left with absolutely nothing. Can I sue her solicitor or am I at a stage where I can not do anything about it? Broke and homeless

  14. ashley says:

    Can a wife get a house I own before we were married and shecis not on the deeds she has money from her devorse from her ex husband and also has a job she has put nothing into the house I have done it all and we have no dependent children can I as her to leave as well

    • Luke says:

      Probably – it’s crazy but we have a crazy system – and unfortunately you signed the marriage contract.
      You need to get a lawyer…

  15. Kirk says:

    I have been marriage just over 5 years but my wife and I agreed that are marriage does not work and I will move out. I own a small house, my wife owns a much more substantial property, probably 3 times the value of my house. She also has a quarter share of a shop owned by her and her siblings. My wife also has 15 year old son, We both earn a similar income. I don’t know if my wife has savings. I inherited some money after my parents died but this will used as it we be necessary for me to move and buy a new property. What is the reasonable thing to? My wife thinks we should we should agree to retain the assets we have individually and not consider dividing our joint assets. I am incline to agree but this sensible? I have no desire to seek unnecessary dispute but also wish to protect my interests.

  16. sabrina says:

    My husband owns property with his ex girlfriend what rights if any do I have over the owned property? Many thanks

  17. Desperate for answers says:

    I bought my home 7 years before marrying my husband and we don’t have any children. He was added to the mortgage through a refinance 2 years before we married but he is not on the deed. He decided to seperate and move out of the house 2 years after we married. Since I owned the home prior to our marriage.and make all payments with my own money before and after him, does he have a right to half the property if we divorce even though I owned it before we married? I want a divorce and I don’t know how to proceed with this dilemma and securing my interest in the home and keeping it. And what would happen if the home was to ever to go into foreclosure? What rights do I or don’t have to fight to keep my home and still get a divorce? Thanks for any replies

  18. D says:

    In a few years time I will have paid my mortgage off and will solely own my house.I’ve done this whilst single because i wanted to have career choices into my 40/50/60s that don’t give me as much earning power. On that basis I wouldn’t want to be paying for a house again on separation. Am I best avoiding marriage and or any form of cohabitation?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear D
      There is no doubt right now that cohabitation is the best way to go, rather than marriage because there is no cohabitation law and obligations on divorce can be onerous even with minimal contribution depending on the circumstances but particularly if there is a child.
      But to be doubly sure if you do not intend to marry and live together, you would need a cohabitation agreement which spells out the arrangements between you, makes it clear that contributions of any kind whatsoever including financial by a partner do not form the basis for any entitlement/interest in relation to any property you may reside in together and sets out what would happen in the event of splitting up including ownership of chattels and the length of time to vacate the property.
      If there is a child things change, but only if there is sufficient capital, your partner could make a claim for provision of housing on behalf of the child under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989. You would still own any housing outright but make it available for a partner and the child to live in during the child’s minority or say earlier cohabitation with a new partner. It depends on both your overall financial circumstances.
      If you want to get married you could have a pre nup but its not completely water tight and the court isn’t bound to uphold it.
      Probably the best thing purely from a legal perspective if home ownership is more important, is to stay single…..!

      • Annie says:

        Dear Ms Stowe
        My name is Annie and wish to get some advice as I need to have some idea before I spend money on solicitor is there any possibility of resolve the issue or not.
        I do apologise for my english, it is not my first language.

        I married to Ex husband 2004-2013
        We lived in a house in London 2004-2010
        Have three children age 10, 5 and 3
        Seperated 2013 now living somewhere else.
        I do not have name on London house
        Haven’t put any interest(?) in house.
        Now today, I discovered the house sold in november 2015.
        I had all of my stuff in that house some very expensive not only that I live in goverment’s benefit.
        Three children under 50:50 joined care.
        Ex husband pays £1 per week for all three children.
        I am so angry because all this time he had rent from house now he sold it. And we still living in poverty. I need to know if I go to court is there anyway to get some money of thay house? What do I tell solictor if I manage to find one?

        Please help me I have no one here and feel like world against my children.

        Thank you for your time.

      • JamesB says:

        I have respect for you saying that Marilyn. It makes me think that perhaps it isn’t the lawyers that are the problem but the law. Which I think is also implied in your post. I say that as I think it would be nice if this man could marry without threatening to ruin him financially and being such a massive risk. If law was like Scotland as it should be he could get a pre nup and be married and would be fair, but it is not and I sadly agree with your response to him.

  19. D says:

    Thanks…handy to know
    With an agreement and finacially helping a partner purchase their own property in their name mitigate the risk?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear D
      Could do but then dont you want an interest in that property? Can be done by a declaration of trust.

      • D says:

        Initially yes, but over some defined time no. The other legal point that I really can’t come to terms with is an ex-spouse having rights to future copyright IP of my art etc. I don’t ever normally even consider selling/ giving away such rights, so to even slightest chance they’d be siezed from me…

        • Marilyn Stowe says:

          Dear D
          IP Rights I suspect would be valued not “seized from you.”
          The pretty obvious answer overall though from a legal perspective to your questions is not to marry nor cohabit. Perhaps dont even have children unless you do so in the full knowledge that you will be responsible for their financial well being whilst they are in full time education.
          Litigation is not always the outcome of a failed relationship. But there’s no doubt there are people out there who are greedy, who do see a relationship as a way to improve their lot.
          A good relationship can enrich your life in many ways, and will remove the fears you have. But there are no guarantees in life.

        • Luke says:

          I think you’re asking the right questions D and Marilyn has been frank and helpful with her answers.
          Clearly marriage as an option is out of the question nowadays for a man if you look at it sensibly, because the burdens on divorce are potentially so onerous (and unknown) and you effectively lose control of your own finances and future based on how a Judge feels that day.
          I think cohabitation with a written contract mitigates the problems to a great degree, but a ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT) relationship is also becoming increasingly popular with couples who don’t want to become financially entangled and want to maintain some independence.
          Of course if you have children you have to pay (you very probably wouldn’t get residency) but providing the child support is reasonable I don’t see how this can be viewed as unfair.

  20. D says:

    yeah don’t have a problem with financial or practical responsibility for children.. that bit sounds fine.
    Suppose it’s more I’d want to remain in control of my own life , in the same way i won’t want control over someone else or make someone reliant on me or become reliant on them whilst able in mimd and body.

    Interesting times,

  21. Jenny says:

    Hello I am married to a 60 year old man/ I am 26, we have a prenup before our Marriage 3 years ago, he owns the house we leave in and my and money in the bank, we don’t have any money or property jointly.if we ever divorce in future will I be entitled to some part of the property and the money in the bank? or he can I get some part of the house and money. I have been with him for 5 years and I am not planing to leave him but I want my future to be secured, we leave in the best part of London, and he always says he can get younger women and I’m afraid if we divorce the or their woman will take the money that is meant for me as the first wife, please reply thanks

  22. Karol says:


    Myself and my wife are buying a house from a married couple. The process is in an early stage atm, but from our memorandum of sale we found out that the house belongs to husband only. How do that work in regards to wife’s rights to that property please? I mean – what if she claims in couple of years time that she didn’t mean to sell her half or she was unaware of the house being sold? Shall I insist on her statement that she won’t claim any rights to the above property? I know it sounds ridiculous but I’d rather be safe than sorry… Thank you 🙂

  23. marilyn de-souza says:

    In 1990 we had a joint mortgage
    However because of negative equity the mortgage was not paid
    There was a court date over repossession
    I attended my friend ,at the time,did not
    It was agreed that if I paid the mortgage plus £50 I could remain in House
    This I did and when I retired 6 yearsa ago I used £29000 of £32000 I received as lump sum to pay off the mortgage
    I now learn despite not paying anything since 1990s when he moved to London the house is his if I die
    If he dies his family is entitled to half
    What can I do I do not know where he is not spoken to him or seen him for decades
    Can you help

  24. Name Witheld says:

    My ex wife lives in a house that has both our names on the mortgage. There is alot of debt against the house, no equity and if and when it sells the debtors get there money back through the sale. We have since divorced , the house was not discussed in the divorce. My ex wife has since re married and remains in the property with her new husband and my 2 children, both under 10 years. I am just wondering how i can get my name off the mortgage as want a new start and dont wanting it hanging over my head. What are my legal rights. Does my name have to remain on the mortgage until the children are out of full time education. Many thanks

  25. OSCAR says:

    I purchased a flat years ago before I got married, paid it off, only my name on the deed, had kids however we have never lived in the flat, wife is asking for divorce, does she have any right to the property?

  26. Kwezii Beckford - Dawes says:

    This site was very clear and gave me peace of mind with my situation.

  27. coney carey says:

    I would like to know if i have right of the property of my husband he iwn the house but i shared b4 when i was live with him..but his name on morgage what i my right

  28. JamesB says:

    On the EU point, I am not saying John is pro EU and I am not. I was making the point that both sides of the argument are biased with vested interests and it is a judgement call when you side with one side or the other.

    You don’t need to decide. If you are going through divorce my advice is one letter from your solicitor to other side and one phone call per month and court if no movement. The law isn’t right or fair and needs changing but don’t get involved in that discussion as arguing with the likes of John and the establishment is very time consuming and best avoided like the many who are avoiding marriage until the law changes to be more like Scotland and is fair.

    Another point. If you go to these courts, you will see how the staff are feminists. Notice how they treat the men badly and the women well. That is how these places operate. For a man its a damage limitation exercise. For a woman its a milking exercise. Not pleasant places.

    Yes, we all went round again John, perhaps it was worth doing one more time for old times sake. Would I advise a man or my sons to marry under the current law in E and W, no. Under the Scottish law, yes. I am not a hypocrite either as that is what I have done and I am on my second marriage.

    One last point, John never offers his experience in terms of if he has ever been married or had children or personally been through a divorce or of a close relative. I kind of think he is hiding something. Same with Marilyn (on the never having been divorced point). I kind of think people should not listen to lawyers who have not been divorced when desciding on whether to divorce or how to divorce.

  29. JamesB says:

    Perhaps John could provide and give a bit more information on his personal life history before we can put any value to his posts. That said I do value his opinion and try and be specific arguing with him. He is wrong to blame the men as he does and say the law is fair. It needs to be like the Scottish system and to be a lot fairer.

  30. JamesB says:

    I say this as I try and listen and understand people and I am finding him increasingly strange to read and make out and listen to. I say this as it is not in the interests of lawyers to defend the indefensible and defend the current law as people have lost faith in it and are not marrying. For more work he needs to advise on how to get people marrying again, at least by backing pre nups or changes to the MCA 1973, rather than banging on about how fair the current England and Wales Family Court system is which is an argument that has already been lost and people have made their minds up on that it is not fair.

    Indeed, before my first marriage, I did not think it fair. I think it contributed to the breakdown of my first marriage as ex thinking she would clean up (she was right) and me thinking it better to get it over and done with as soon as possible, it would have been better avoided via a pre or post nup and I think if any of my children get married I will try and gift them that (a pre or post nup) or even better a much fairer system like they have in Scotland, please.

  31. JamesB says:

    Actually, not one more time, for old times sake. Lets keep going round until we get these dodgy courts sorted out with fair and better family law.

  32. Denise says:

    My son got married just over 7yrs ago in Marius to a Bermudian. She wants a devorce as she is not in love with him now. She has a morgage which she had when they met in England at University. This morgage is in her name only. Her father still lives in the property with them but does not contribute towards the morgage as he is retired the mother died 2yrs ago the elder sister left home 12yrs ago and younger sister left 2yrs ago. My son has and still is paying into this morgage until 4 weeks ago when she told him he need not contribute towards the morgage now,he can save his money so he would have money to return with His wife also has decided she file for devorce and pay for it, my son can have £2000 for a motor bike they share he can have the dog they bought between them,on the understanding the dog is the asset, he is to signe the devorce papers immediately before he leaves his job and Bermuda he can not bring the dog with him on his return to England,she will apparently send the dog at a later date. Is he entitled to some of the property ? He is so broken hearted and and still in love with her he will not see a solicitor of his own. I have asked solicitors in this country for advice,they say they can not help as my son is not in England.

  33. Sara says:

    Hi,my husband and me have been separated for a while,during that time ,my husband bought a house by mortgage with his name and mentioned in document single,Now we are living together ,if something happens to my husband like pass away or died ,I can inherit to his house? Or he should contact to change single to married or should make a will?thank you,Sara

  34. Nicole says:

    My husband bought our home before I got married to him now wants a divorce after being together 13 years I have two children by him 8 and 9 he keeps threatening me that I have a several months to find me a place to stay because my name is not on the deed. I am a stay at home mom for 10years and have been sick with with lupus can the courts put my children and I out on the streets

  35. Andrew says:

    Nicole: you use the American spelling Mom. If you are in America this is not the site for you. You need advice (from a lawyer, not a website) in your own State.

  36. Li. says:

    I have been married for 20 years, I came here from a different country and didn’t know the laws therefore everything we made in the last 20 years, a house, a business, shops and apartments are all under my husband’s name. I was wondering if he ever divorce me do i get half the money or not? Thank you

  37. Arlene says:

    My husband parent died and left the house we were living in for all their children now he died can they put me out being his spouse what are my righ ?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Arlene
      You must take legal advice. You don’t explain all the circumstances including, most importantly what provision your husband made for you in his will and especially what happens to his share of the house and you will need then to deal with the other beneficiaries once a clear understanding emerges of your overall position.
      Please don’t delay.

  38. Trevor says:

    My mother in law owns a property solely, she married in April 15 after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her husband has placed her property up for sale to help pay for her care. Does he have the right to sell the property? As far as we know he does not have his name on the deeds. She is no longer well enough to make such decisions. Can we stop him as we fear he will dispose of the funds to his family and will not use the funds for her care.

  39. S says:

    We divorced 5 years ago I live in the family home with our children the house is in his name. It was never financially finalised the judge threw it out as it was unfair . He threatens me monthly with eviction takes photos of my house through windows tells me it’s not kept the way he expects it to be kept so withholds maintainace and now threatens me with eviction again. All I get from soliciters is ” to fight him will cost £1000’s ” and ” he can sell”

    I feel like driving my car into a wall

  40. Tina says:

    I don’t know if anyone can help with this:
    My fiance and I are planning to marry next year (we are both Divorced). I have a house in my name with no mortgage.
    His ex wife refused to sign a financial consent order and this was never resolved – he has very little contact with her now and she has left the country although he still pays a voluntary maintenance for his child.
    As I understand it, when we marry, our assets will be combined and we will both own everything.
    My concern is that his ex wife could appear at any time in the future and restart the proceedings for the financial consent order, but that it would then be based on his finances as they stand at that time (ie including the house that we live in). Is this correct and is there anything we can do to protect against it?

  41. Debbie says:

    me and my husband married late in life. I signed a prenup. he owned lots of property and had a business. we were married almost 3 years and he had a heart attack and died . He were in the middle of building our home on land that was his before we marriage. I am going to finish the house, but the property is my husbands name. Estate of? What happens now. I am living in a camper right now until the house is built. Can I get a deed for the house if the land is not in my name. I will live there until I die.


    • Dennis Swierk says:

      We were married for many years and we had nothing but 5 children, My wife decides to up and leave me with the children,10 years pass and I am doing quite well, purchased two homes ( she signed off on both), we never got divorced , now I want to divorce and she is saying that she wants half, am I in trouble or is she not correct.

      • Marilyn Stowe says:

        Dear Dennis
        Yes you do need legal advice on your situation. Your wife is still a wife until she’s divorced and the court can make provision for both parties reasonable needs out of both parties assets. However the court may distinguish between assets acquired during the marriage and after separation. It really all depends on the specific facts and what’s been happening. I suggest you have a read of my book which will cost you 99p from the side bar of this blog and will give you more information about what happens during a divorce to help you think more rather than panic. The proceeds will go to The Children’s Society too. Then see a solicitor. We have offices all over the country and our solicitors know what they’re doing.

  42. Gary baxter says:

    My wife and i live on her mothers land in a park home i purchased from my inheritance money when my mother died we have been married under 5 years do they as land owners havd a claim on my property ie the cabin and my birds of prey

  43. Anne says:

    I am a widow. I own my house outright. Im retired. I met am older man who wants to marry me. But I. Am afraid of losing my home if things go bad. What can I do to protect myself and my property. I cannot afford a lawyer to write up a prenuptial agreement. Im getting cold feet now. But feel sad I will most likely spend the rest of my life alone if I can’t find a way to protect myself.

    • Andrew says:

      Anne: you are in the same position as many other men and women and you will remain there until prenups are made cast iron. I’m truly sorry for you.

  44. Frieda says:

    Pls help. I was divorced approx 1.5yrs ago and managed to settle out of court however, ex signed over his share of property to me so could keep my house its in my name and so is mortgage. Children live with me in the home. I’d like to know if so can set out a pre-nup of some sort before I remarry so new husband cannot make a claim against my property and pension. Thanks in advance

  45. maura ryan says:


    I lived with my partner last few years in rented accommodation as he was going through a divorce and wife lived in family home on her own (children grown up and not living there). All of assets were in the family home (paying off mortgage etc), He was living off a National Grid pension and had zero savings other than when house would have been sold, he would have got half it’d value. He died in a strange accident a few months back. I don’t appear to have been in a will (if he made one..). The executors of his estate want pretty much everything he possessed when he left his home, plus his car (which was bought after he left the family home as was in a car accident that wrote off previous car (worth sod all!…). Do I have any rights at all, considering I paid the rent on current accommodation for the last year and owed me monies? Also, what would be status of the car?

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Maura
      You may well have a claim against his estate as a dependent under the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act 1975. Even if his half of the house automatically passed to his ex, that can still be taken into account in assessing your claim.
      You need to take urgent legal advice. “Executors” of an estate should mean there is a will. If they were called “Administrators” it would mean there wasn’t.

  46. Roy says:

    I have lived with a married woman for 9 yrs and have just split up,she never got devorced because of his police pension, I have stayed in my home witch is solely in my name,is she entitled to anything if anyone can help me please

  47. Kerry says:

    I owned my own property prior to meeting my estranged husband. We jointly own another property that was gifted to him and I was added so that we could mortgage the property to help his family. I have always paid the lion share of the bills (as is my house we were living in) and he contributes to the mortgage that we jointly own (admittedly mine is lumped into that mortgage as we needed to do that to get the money for his family). My Will was also written prior to us getting together an indicates that my house go solely to my child… does he have any right to my property?

  48. myra says:

    Any advice out there for the guilt one feels after putting their children through a divorce? I know my ex-husband and I were unable to fix our problems (our decision to divorce was fairly mutual), but I really had no idea how unbelievably difficult this would be on everyone. My ex has a new, young girlfriend who I feel is slowly trying to take my place as a mother in my kids’ lives (and my ex encourages it). It’s so painful…they are the only thing I have. He has much more money than I do and is able to give our children more material things…but he plays games with it as well. He’ll buy them new clothes but then not send the clothes with them when they come back home it wouldn’t be so bad if he would at least send their old clothes. It’s like he’s pushing me to spend the little money I have on things that we could share with the kids. We both buy them things but he won’t share. The funny thing is he put a huge financail strain on our family where we basically lost everything due to a very bad business deal and now he seems to be living fine and the kids and I suffer the continued consequences when they are home with me.

    All I want to do is be able to take care of my kids…sorry, don’t mean to compain. It just gets so overwhelming thinking about survival all the time.

  49. malik says:

    My parents purchased their main home and placed it in my bothers name, parents lived in property all there life, bother got married and has 2 young children, almost 20 yrs later he has been taken to court and owes solicitors over 200k as he lost the legal battle, now they want to apply to force a sale to cover costs etc, will my parents and his wife and children all be kicked out and an order for sale be granted?
    any advice would be great

  50. Carol says:

    My husband and I brought a home when we were married. 5 years later we divorced, the judge made us tenants in common, I had to pay mortgage, insurance taxes and do all upkeep on the house. he remarried a year later. 9 years later we decided to sell, years later, I see that his wife’s name and signature was added to the deed after I had signed it, is this right, it looks as thou the money was split up between the three of us, the two of them getting way more than me. Could you please answe this question for me?

  51. Vicky says:

    I would just like a quick concise answer. I own my own home and have recently inherited money from my deceased parents estate. My boyfriend moved in about a year ago and contributes rent money each month. He has no property or real assets of his own. He has just asked me to marry him. If we tie the knot would he be entitled to half my assets if we split?

  52. Gina says:

    I own my house with only my name on the deeds. Still have 3 more years left to pay on mortgage. Have just got married, new husband has no assets, but does have 2 children who are now over 24 years old My Question is : Am i still at this point able to do what i want with regard to leaving my house to my nephew in my will, Or does my new husband get a say? We are too old to have children and i don’t want his children to inherit my family home.

  53. Gina says:

    Forgot to add i would welcome advice from others who are in a similar position, We have not made Will’s yet but want to get things sorted while we are still young enough and fit .

  54. susan says:

    I had my own home with a morgage before i married my husband my daughter still lives in the home , i want to know if i divorce my husband will he have rights to my home in my name and its my daughters home now i pay the morgage

  55. mike says:

    Got a divorce and waiting on splitting house assets last court date was December 2016 in northern ireland… I have heard no more word back and my ex is refusing to pay me out off the family home i build… She has her new bf and childd living in the house with our daughter who is under the age off 16. We have been broke up at least 7 years we were give the land which we build house in by her dad for a wedding gift. We both also own a field… Shes been payi g mortage from i was ask too leave ibuild the house and i also pay mortage for 10 years am i due anything and is it normol to wait this long fir a court case??

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Unfortunately we can’t advise on Northern Irish law as it is different to English law. Try a solicitor in the Province – they should be able to help

  56. J says:

    Hello there, I have a query regarding matrimonial property but my case is a bit complicated.
    I was separated from my husband two years ago legally because of his abuses towards me and my kids. However, the restraining order is due to expire soon, and I recently bought a house with my two daughters (both over 18) as joint tenants. My husband name is not on the deed as he didn’t contribute anything for the property and we’ve had no contact for two years now. I have one daughter who is under 18 and she is living with me as well. Coming to the main point, I want to divorce my husband but I don’t want him to get any right on my property after the divorce. There’s no way he’s going to get custody of my youngest daughter because of his abusive nature which has been reported multiple times. Could he still claim for my house? I was thinking since we’ve been separated for two years and he’s never lived in my new property, the chances of him getting any right on my house is zero. I am not sure though. Can you provide any suggestion?

  57. Andrew says:

    The house is in the pot (and so it ought to be) and you having put your daughters’ names on the title won’t make any difference unless they made independent and significant contributions to the cost of it.
    Imagine the reaction if a man was asking how to keep such an important asset out of the pot. And then ask yourself why the fact that you are female should make any difference at all.

  58. Susanne says:

    Unfortunately for a first world country, matrimonial law in the UK is patently backwards (read old boys club who hang onto archaic laws that are no longer fit for purpose). Assets acquired prior to a marriage (i.e. immovable property, savings etc.) should not form part of the matrimonial estate and should be excluded, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Seriously, bring in pre-nups and get with the programme! Makes me wonder why anyone gets married, if it puts all their hard work and dedication at risk. Unfortunately we don’t live in Utopia where everyone has a perfect marriage!

  59. help preserve property rights says:

    alright people. You need to sell your homes to your own c-corporation. “rent” the occupied home from the corporation.
    the Corporation’s bylaws, articles, or a USA must specify that the shares of the corporation may NOT be transferred to a third party.
    Dont use matrimonial assets to invest in said business.

  60. Jen says:

    I’ve always owned my own home. Met and married my husband 9 years ago. I have 5 kids with my first husband (now deceased)
    Took out a home improvement mortgage if 12 grand a few years ago. My husband and I pay it.
    If I divorce him can he take half my house?
    I want to leave it to my kids.

  61. Bale says:

    My ex and I marred 5 moths how Matrimonial homes divid? How is work the calculation.

  62. Isabel Deighan says:

    Hi, my new husband bought his ex council house before we got married, I paid the mortgage of as I sold my flat and moved in before we got married, at the time they said I had to wait 3 years to go joint owners now we are married would I automatically get the house if anything happens to my husband

  63. Sharon says:

    I own my house have separated from my husband. He has not worked for 10 years due to Ill health. He is expecting half the equity but not really contributed
    He also won’t leave
    Please help

  64. D says:

    I have just emailed 2 local firms of solicitors to ask about mediation but thought maybe I’d get some help here first. My husband of nearly 10 years and myself are seeking to separate. We do not have children together but I have a daughter aged 23.
    I am 55 and he is 47. I don’t work (stopped 18 months ago due to mental health issues) and he is self-employed. When we met, I owned my own house (following parents death and the first marriage break-up) and lived there with my daughter who was 12 when we met.
    When he moved in prior to our marriage, he came from rented accommodation and didn’t have to contribute to a mortgage as there wasn’t one. the Working Family Tax Credits I got, stopped as I was co-habiting (about £350/month) We both earned approx the same as each other and opened a joint bank account for bills etc. During times when there was no work, he didn’t make much effort to find any because he knew he didn’t need to.
    I know that legally he is entitled to a share of the property on sale, but would I at least be in a position to ask for the amount back that I originally paid for it before I met him and what would the probability be in achieving this?
    Many thanks

  65. Mary says:

    Hi! my divorce to husband of 19 years is ongoing at the moment. He has sold our property in the UK without my knowledge and is now unwilling to give me half of the equity, he says he had to pay debts and don’t know if that is true. Do i have a claim on the equity? i have not worked since we got married and my 2 children under 18 are living with me. he also does not want to give me details of his income or any savings account.

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      We may be able to get some advice for you. Could we ask roughly where you live?

      • liza says:

        At the moment we are based in Asia but the divorce was filed in England. I was there this month to see a solicitor to represent me for the divorce and was hoping to settle finances amicably out of court but he refuses to give full and frank disclosure. Thanks!

        • Cameron Paterson says:

          Okay, thanks for the information. I’ve passed your details to one of our solicitors and asked them to email you

  66. Natalia Thiessen says:

    Hi, my husband of 9 years recently purchased a house in England and put it in his name and his girlfriend’s name (we are still married and living together in our matrimonial home along with our two children). He paid cash so there is no mortgage on the house. Also, the girlfriend contributed no money towards the purchase as she is not employed. He has no idea that I know about the girlfriend or this transaction.

    My question is, in the event of his passing, what rights would I have regarding any interest in the house.

    I would really appreciate any advice you can provide.

    • Cameron Paterson says:

      Hello there: we may be able to get some guidance for you. Could we ask (roughly) where you live?

  67. S says:

    Does the court has powers to remove my minor child (11 years old) and I from my own property?
    I am the owner, occupier and the bill payer of my property and also my name is the only name that is on the deeds and on the mortgage. I moved to this property in 2012 due to domestic violence issue;only my son and I live in this property since 2012 ( nearly 5+ years) . I also have an injunction order against my ex-husband since 2012 (indefinite) and he is not allowed to come within 1 mile of this property.
    My ex-husband sold our family home in 2013 after I moved out and before the divorce proceedings(divorce granted in June 2016) and clean break proceedings (granted in August 2016) and he spent all the money.
    During the clean break proceedings he hired a barrister and requested a share from my current home. I am a litigant in person throughout this proceedings. He requested £90,000 from me and the judge ordered me to give £90,000 as his barrister kept on misleading the judge by diverting the judge to look at my LinkedIn profile instead of my wages slips and P60s. The judge told me to apply for promotion in my employment and then give the money to my-ex-husband or he said he will order for sale of my current property. I only earn £37,000 and I have the full custody of my child (single parent) and I also work full time to provide for my Son and I.
    I didn’t give the £90,000 and now my ex-husband has applied to the court to sell my property.
    Lots of things happened during this time; they removed the indefinite injunction order, gave him permission to instruct a lock smith to change my property locks and then giving a spare keys of my current property to my exhusband and an estate agent so that they can start the sale proceedings.
    I change the locks back and wrote to the court;I live alone with my child and I do not want any strangers coming to my proeprty especially the abuser and doemstic violence man. My child and my safety and welfare is impotant to me. My contract is between my mortgage company and I and not with the court- they ignored all this (falling on deaf ears).
    Then my exhusband applied for posession order they gave me 7days (leave by 4pm on 14 August 2017) to leave my own property; I didn’t leve my property as it is my resopondiblity to pay the mortage and the bills and I am duty bound to my mortgage company. I am still at my property standing my ground.
    Now the court has given my ex-husband permisson to apply to the hight court bailiff to evict my son and I from my own home. We will be homeless; the judge told me that she doesn’t care if we become homeless.
    My question to you is please – can the high court bailif evict my son and I from my own home;I am a single parent with a minor child. Can they take my house and give it to my ex-husband? Eventhough he is not the mortgage payer or his name is not on the deeds? They are using the landlord tennant evictions process but I am not the tennant!

  68. Andrew says:

    S: The order of the court is what it is and your ex is entitled to enforce it. So yes, you and your son can be evicted. If you are to get any part of the sale proceeds be aware that the costs of any attempt to stave off the inevitable can be taken from your share.

    • S says:

      So Bailiff can actually evict my son and I?
      Then what would the bailiff do with the house; would they give the house back to the mortgage company OR my Ex-husband? Do I still have to pay the mortgage after eviction?
      Can the put a charge on the property instead?

  69. s says:

    Normally when the bailiff evict tenants they give the house back to the landlord. If the mortgage company uses bailiff to evict you then the bailiff will take the property and give it back to the mortgage company. In my case the mortgage company is not evicting me; I am paying their mortgage and they are happy. It is my ex-husband who has nothing to do with this property is trying to evict me/threatening to evict me using the bailiff from my own property so that he can get a financial settlement. Does the bailiff actually get involved in matrimonial dispute? Could someone please kindly answer my questions please. Thanking You.

  70. Andrew says:

    This is not the bailiff evicting a tenant or even a mortgagor. It is a creditor. The bailiff is not “getting involved in a matrimonial dispute” – s/he is carrying out the order of the court. You will get the balance after payment of the costs of sale, the mortgage, and the money which – like it or not – you owe your ex.

    Please do not obstruct the sale. If necessary the District Judge will sign your name to the contract and the transfer, and the costs will almost certainly come out of your share.

    I know this is not what you want to hear but that is how it is.

    • Emma says:

      Are you qualified to answer on here? Are you connected with Stowe family law in any way? Your responses are aggressive and sometimes sound bitter towards women.

  71. s says:

    OK many thanks Andrew for your quick response.

  72. Lindsay says:

    Hi there I have two uncles one that owns a property. 20 years ago the one that owns the property came into financial difficulty on that property. The brother bailed him out. They sign a contract giving both brothers equal share. The brother that owned the property first got married 11 years later. No his wife left him and wants half the property. What can she claim for. There is no mortgage and the property is still registered one the one brothers name but they still have the contract.

  73. ruth says:

    I have a partner of whom is still legally married to his *wife* they married nearly 30 years ago and have two grown up children over 20 years of age.

    He has just signed his pensions and death in service over to kids and agreed a financial separation with *wife* he has money in the bank but owns no property. I own my house independently.
    My question is if he was to move in can his wife have any claim over my home?
    My second question is as there is a significant age gap with us, if we were to in the future buy a house together and he died would his children have claim over the house? I wouldn’t want them having anything i’ve put money into.


  74. john says:

    My wife of 9 years has recently left me for another guy. While going through her belonging left behind I found paper work to say she married a Tunisian guy in 2006. The paper work related to a divorce hearing that she should attend in Tunisa April 2008. She never attened the hearing or told me of this. We married in October 2008 and she never disclosed to the registry office about the Tunisan marriage.

  75. john says:

    Where do I stand legaly with this

  76. Kev says:

    Hi hopefully you ould advise me.
    having been together for 14years and married for 6, i am planning to move out and start divorce proceedings.
    during our time together i have supported my step,daughters now 21 & 19 without any financial help from their father. I have also been transferring £ 1000 per month into my wife’s account to pay for the running of the house and mortgage.
    i then pay for any meals and entertainment during the month.

    the house is in her name and with her ex’s name still on it too. he was awarded 5% in their divorce, whenever the property is sold.

    Do I have any claim on the property, as I have done all of the maintenance on the property, as well as building log cabin, new fencing, hot tub etc etc.?

    regards Kev

  77. Tom umsden says:

    Hi. I used to live with my long term partner until about 8 years ago, while together, we purchased a house in joint names and this house is nearly paid off. I eft my then partner about 6 years ago and married my new partner 4 years ago. Now my new partner wants a divorce and as she is the named person on the deeds, I have been asked to leave.I have left the matrimonial home and moved back in with my ex as I have nowhere else to go. Now I have had a MHA put on the house my new partner owns to protect my rights, she has aready moved her new chap in and they are co-habiting as ma and wife She is telling me she is going to wipe me out, can she come after the house I own with my ex partner or assets associated with it? Doesn’t seem fair that I have been thrown out with just my clothes in a carrier bag and to prevent me finding out about her new boyfriend. She also got him to change the locks. and it left me with nothing. We have a 3 yr old girl who lives with her mum and boyfriend, what can I do to protect my house which was purchased before I ever married, by myself and my ex partner? Thankyou

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Thanks for your comment.

      I have passed your details to our Client Care Team who will be in touch with you.


  78. me says:

    I am a married women with one child age 8, living with a very arrogant and abusive husband who was not abusing me physically but also mentally, one day suddenly out of blue he said to me that he cant live with me anymore, without ANY reason , I tried to calm him down and talk to him but in my 10 years of marriage he never want to talk as he only talks never listens, I want to stay togeather for the sake of my child but I guess he made up his mind, he is asking me to leave the family house, I don’t have anywhere to go I don’t have any family to seek help too, I am relaying on a few friends and of course they cant support me and my child with that. I talked again and asked him to let me stay in the house until my son gets 18 so he just pay the mortgage and I don’t want any marriage maintenance too I was thinking of getting a job to help my self with household bills and food, but he still didn’t accept he says I don’t want you to live here in peace, he will receive some money from his insurance which is a big lump sum but he want to spend it on his family so I wont be able to get anything from it or my son, right now we didn’t take any legal action, and I am thinking by the time we get to the court he will spend the money else where on his brother name so I might not be able to get anything from it and from the money I will get from the sale of the house I wont be able to buy a studio flat too, I know I am not working and earning any money but whatever he has today is because of my hard work be prudent with my spending and life, I am an Asian women who do all the house work , from cleaning the house to do shopping, dropping my child to school and cooking freshly everyday, I am also volunteering somewhere for getting some experience to get a job, can anyone help and tell me what should I do? can someone explain what would I be entitle from the insurance money that he gets? or can he kick me out of my house if I don’t want to leave?

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Thank you for your email. I have passed your details to our Client Care team who will be in touch. Kind regards

  79. Amanda says:

    My husband of 10 years wants a divorce. I got divorced from first husband just before marrying him. We married in order to be together as he is American and couldn’t get any other type of visa.
    He had nothing except negative equity and in fact I paid for the wedding, the flight, the visa, the transportation of his posessions. I also paid off his credit card debts. The ones he told me about anyway. This was from my divorce proceedings. My first ex and I had got a mortgage at an early age and worked our socks off. This ex spent his way through his 20’s and had nothing.

    I exchanged on my house before he moved over and completed just after. My tax credits (3 kids and on a low income) went right down because I was co-habiting. His presence in the house made me financially worse off. For about 6 years he had low paid jobs and a spell of unemployment (without entitlement to benefits). In the last four years we have both been doing well in our careers and the £30k mortgage in my name is now £5k. We have jointly spent about £40k on improvements and the housing market has gone up. I don’t know how much he is legally entitled to now he wants to divorce me. Without my house he would not have been able to afford a mortgage or any investment. If he demands too much I may not be able to remortgage and therefore lose my house which I all but owned before we met. One of the kids is still a minor (15). The house and mortgage is in my name only. I’ve been a total idiot but not stupid enough to put him on the deeds. He has been abusive towards me and I’m worried he has been using me. I feel scared that the law will go in his favour when it’s clear that without the investment I brought to the relationship he would have no capital. I will be worse off for being married to him and he will be better off. How is this fair? Plus my job is self employed and vulnerable. I have no pension and am 8yrs older. This is complex…

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Thank you for your comment. I have passed the details across to our Client Care team and they will get back to you shortly. Kind regards,

  80. Aakifah Yasmin says:

    Me and husband got a islamic marriage certificate 2 years ago from the start I told him to get our marriage registered. 1 year into our marriage we brought a house but it is under his name. Recently he divorced me because he didn’t want to register my marriage legally so I don’t have rights over the house. Do I have any rights ?

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Thank you for your enquiry – I have passed your details to our Client Care Team who will be able to advise you. Best wishes,

  81. Bill says:

    My first wife and I purchased a home. She died and my insurance paid the existing mortgage off. I married 7 years later, but pay every bill for the property. If we separate can she claim half the house, or is it sole custody as she is not on the deeds to the home.

  82. Claire says:

    This is a very informative—edifying article to all. Thanks a lot! Continue to post!

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