Property matters in divorce: Conveyancing’s crucial role

Annie Button has written an article that discusses property matters in divorce and the crucial role that conveyancing plays in the process.

With roughly 50% of marriages ending in divorce in the UK, sharing property, which is often a couple’s most significant shared asset, can make a difficult time harder. This is why a conveyancer plays an instrumental part in navigating, evaluating and supporting their clients to reach the fairest outcome in the eye of the law.

A family home is the shared interest that has the highest material value in most couple’s relationships and divorce is the most common reason for people to sell a home quickly. Yet, with the property market unsteady, even divorcing couples might be hesitant about selling up or try to delay their divorce until the timing is better. For others, the separation process is imminent and the benefit of having a conveyancer to support them is paramount.

The value of a property never just comes down to being a monetary issue. In fact, divorcing and moving house are the two most stressful experiences anyone can have, so coping with both simultaneously can be incredibly hard. For most, a home is tied up with the emotions of each person getting divorced and might often be the key to shaping their financial futures and the wellbeing and financial security of their children. 

This article explores why property matters profoundly during divorce proceedings, and the indispensable role played by conveyancing solicitors in property settlements.

Consider whether the time is right to sell:

Amid the unavoidable stress and turbulence of divorce proceedings, property division can be a big point of contention and one that requires good negotiation skills. Navigating the intricate web of a property’s value, mortgages and shared investments is a daunting task for couples seeking separation or divorce and conveyancing solicitors offering informative, professional and responsive support during this process is essential.

With property being such a high-value possession for a divorcing couple, one of the initial stages of a divorce will be deciding whether the property is going to be sold or if it suits the parents to adopt a ‘birdnesting approach’, which involves alternate living in a property for the sake of their children. If a couple does decide that the time is right to sell, they might first consider the property market’s current status – are prices rising or falling in your area, the local trends as well as the mortgage rates. 

Conveyancing solicitors will collaborate with estate agents fairly to ensure that properties are appraised correctly. These factors might directly influence a couple’s decision while the finances of house value and mortgage rates can impact the percentage share of assets available, and the amount of equity afforded to each party during a divorce.They will help couples to navigate financial complexities using technology to read a challenging property market on top of their legal knowledge.

Instrumental support of a conveyancing solicitor:

Once a couple has disclosed their finances, including all their assets, liabilities, income and expenses, a conveyancing solicitor will help a couple reach a formal ‘Valuation of Assets’ in which the court then relies on to make an informed decision regarding asset division. The proceeds will be divided up fairly based on a number of financial factors in addition to the property’s value, such as live pensions or inheritance. 

Conveyancers play a vital role in this stage as they are responsible for determining the assets’ worth for an accurate valuation and an equitable division. Making the right choices can come down to how well-informed couples are, which emphasises the invaluable conveyancing role.

Comply with laws to ensure a fair property outcome:

Conveyancing solicitors remain instrumental throughout the divorce property settlement process. As a legal expert, they will steer individuals throughout all the processes mentioned above to secure their rightful share of property. 

Property division in divorce cases is governed by a set of laws and regulations designed to ensure fairness and equity for both parties involved. Understanding these legal principles is fundamental for divorcing couples and they underpin the framework for the entire process. There are key laws and regulations surrounding property division within a divorce situation, from the initial separation to the final property transfer. 

Property division in the UK is guided by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Family Law Act 1996. These laws establish the foundation for the division of assets, including properties and emphasise the importance of achieving a fair and amicable outcome. The court will take on board the financial value in addition to the needs and contributions of both spouses with respect to any children. While many couples assume that property is neatly divided up 50-50 during a split, the division of money and property when you divorce or separate is governed in a legal framework. The court will also consider the length of the marriage, the age and health of both parties, their financial resources and their future earning capacities.

Property settlement options:

When it comes to a couple’s property, couples have three main options to consider based on their unique circumstances and objectives.

A conveyancing team will help them decide on which route works best:

      • Asset division: This is the most common approach to property settlement in divorce. It involves dividing all assets, including properties, between the spouses in an equitable manner. While this approach aims for fairness, it may not always lead to a clean break, as one party may retain ownership of a property, while the other receives other assets or a lump sum payment to offset their share.
      • Clean break: A clean break is often the ideal outcome for divorcing couples, as it seeks to sever all financial ties between the parties, including property-related obligations. In this scenario, both spouses aim to sell or transfer all properties, ensuring that neither retains any financial interest or responsibility for the other’s properties or debts.
      • Property transfer between spouses: In some cases, one spouse may wish to keep a particular property, such as the matrimonial home, while the other agrees to transfer their share of ownership. This option can provide stability, especially when children are involved, but it requires careful consideration of the property’s value, mortgage arrangements and fairness.

Once an agreement or court order is reached, the conveyancing solicitors will take charge of the property transfer process, including drafting legal documents, ensuring compliance with all the regulations and overseeing the transfer of property titles. If negotiations fail, the case may proceed to court where a judge’s decision is final.

Strategic tips conveyancing solicitors employ:

Conveyancing solicitors are skilled negotiators and legal experts in property and divorce matters. On top of strong negotiation skills, they are expected to advocate for their clients’ interests by exploring creative solutions, such as looking into various shared properties or staggering payments.

Solicitors will also work on their client’s behalf and do their due diligence to uncover any hidden assets or potential pitfalls that may impact the settlement. This includes examining property titles, outstanding mortgages and any disputes. Being knowledgeable about tax implications, they can also be called on to advise their clients on potential tax liabilities and strategies to minimise them. 

Conveyancers play a central role in safeguarding the interests of divorcing couples while ensuring that the process complies with any applicable laws. They bring their expertise in property law to the table ensuring that valuations are accurate, negotiations are conducted professionally and all the property’s legal documentation is in order. Fundamentally, when property is jointly owned, conveyancing solicitors aim to achieve a fair and equitable outcome.


Property matters in divorce: Conveyancing's crucial role

Annie Button


Kindly shared by Annie Button