In short, any person named on the mortgage will be liable for the repayments.
A cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement which can be put into place when you first start living with someone. If you set one of these up historically, it is worth revisiting it as it may have an impact on the situation. For example, if the mortgage is held solely in your name, but you have a cohabitation agreement in place which states your ex is liable to pay towards the mortgage in the event of separation, this will be legally binding.
Alternatively, depending on your individual circumstances, the court may order your ex to make a payment towards the mortgage, even if they are not listed on there. This will depend on your unique situation, but will be legally binding.
If you are Divorcing
If you are divorcing and want to know if your ex should pay half towards the mortgage, it is always best to seek independent legal advice. Many different factors are likely to impact the responsibility your ex has to the mortgage. These can include:
- Whether you were married, cohabiting or in a civil partnership with your ex;
- The names listed on the mortgage and the property deeds;
- Any guarantors to the mortgage;
- If a prenup was completed prior to marriage;
- Any spousal support your ex may be paying to you; and
- Yours and your ex’s monthly income and outgoings.
Due to the complexity of this situation, it is always best to seek advice from a professional.
Who Pays the Mortgage During a Separation?
While you are going through the separation process, it is important that any parties named on the mortgage continue to make the repayments. If your mortgage is in joint names with your ex, both of you will be responsible for the repayments until an alternative agreement is made.
Do I Have to Sell My Home Because of a Separation?
While some choose to sell their property following a separation, this is not always the only option. The most common options are detailed below:
- Sell your home: if you choose to sell your home, the proceedings of the sale will be used to pay off any mortgage remaining. Anything left over can then be split between the parties who were named on the mortgage. Some people choose to sell their home as they cannot afford the monthly costs on their own, or as they don’t want to be surrounded by the memories they have in the property.
- Buy your ex out: if you would prefer to stay in your home, you should speak to a Mortgage Adviser about the options available here. Where you can satisfy affordability assessments, many lenders will allow you to take equity from the property to buy your ex out of the property and remove them from the mortgage. This means that going forward the mortgage and property will be in your sole name and therefore your sole responsibility.
It is important to remember that everyone’s circumstances will be different, and court orders may change what is available to you. It is always best to seek professional advice.