How does the court decide who gets the family home after a divorce?


Divorce proceedings concern the ending of a marriage by application to a family court by a solicitor instructed by one party to the marriage. The party bringing the petition is known as the petitioner, and at that point the other party to the marriage becomes the respondent. Matters relating to the ongoing care of children and the division of assets including the family home are dealt with in separate, but linked applications made to the courts by the petitioner’s solicitor following receipt of legal advice.

The division of assets is covered in an application for ancillary relief, which is also known as a financial order. This is a formal order made in court. Ancillary relief is granted to ensure that both parties and the children in the relationship are looked after and that assets in the marriage and future earnings are all considered in the settlement.

The solicitors representing both sides will make representations based on the total assets, earnings and the potential earnings of both sides. The courts can make orders concerning one off payments, the transfer of ownership in property, the payments of maintenance going forward and the sharing of pensions. Courts will look in the first instance at the care of children to ensure that they are looked after. After that they will consider the length of the relationship, the age of both parties, the money and property each owns, and the needs they will have going forward.

Any decision based on the family home will be based initially on representations by solicitors as to where the children are going to live. The court will decide on the allocation of ownership depending on who will have residential care, with other assets then awarded to offset the value in the home. If there is not enough to settle in this way, the judge will make an award on residency, with contingency to look after the other party.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on divorce, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist divorce solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local divorce solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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