Does my ex have to pay half the mortgage?

In this brief guide, we’ll discuss the question“Does my ex have to pay half the mortgage “. 

Does my ex have to pay half the mortgage?

Yes, your ex will have to pay half of the mortgage if they are listed on the mortgage as you will be both equally liable to the mortgage lender and in the case of the mortgage being defaulted then the mortgage lender will come after the both of you for the mortgage balance plus any costs.

If on the other hand your ex is not listed on the mortgage deed then they won’t have to pay half the mortgage as they will have no liability either way. This means if you default on the mortgage, the mortgage lender will only come after the person or people listed on the mortgage.

Whether your ex will have to pay half the mortgage will also depend on factors such as if you had a cohabitation agreement. If you did then it is very unlikely that your ex will have to pay half the mortgage. 

To get your ex to pay half of the mortgage you can simply request them to do this and get it in writing if they refuse then you could potentially apply to the courts for spousal support. You will not be able to ask for spousal support if you have remarried.

The courts could grant spousal support which will include enough money for you to pay the mortgage on a short term, or long term basis.

Remember you simply can’t stop paying for the mortgage if you live in the property as you can risk the property coming under a court instructed home repossession. If your name is on the mortgage then you will also risk having negative missed payments attached to your mortgage account and this could make it very hard to secure credit in the future as your credit score may go down.

If you no longer want the mortgage to be on your ex partner’s name you can get a mortgage in your name and buy the property out.

If your Ex is on the mortgage and does not want to pay their half of the mortgage then you can arrange for a transfer of equity. This will mean that the complete mortgage is now in your name. There may be some stamp duty implications so look out for this and see independent tax advice where suitable.

To ensure everything goes smoothly you will need to pass the mortgage lenders mortgage affordability requirements as you will be the only one named on the mortgage.

If you feel you will likely fail this assessment then you will have to find someone else who can be on the mortgage with you such as another family member.

Cohabitation agreement

If you had a cohabitation agreement or a declaration of trust agreement which states what will happen if you both split and it explicitly says that your ex has to pay half of the mortgage then you can comply your ex to stick to the terms of that agreement through the courts or by simply sending your ex a warning letter.

Court order

Your ex may have to pay half the mortgage if they are ordered to by the court. If your situation is unique, maybe you are going through a divorce and the court has ordered that your ex pay half of the mortgage for whatever reason then your ex will have to pay half of the mortgage and if they don’t then you can go back to the court to enforce its decision.

If you are divorcing

If you are divorcing then wondering if your ex has to pay half of the mortgage is a natural thought. But in reality, the answer to this question is very hard as it very much depends on their personal and financial circumstances. The easiest way to get some answer to this is to seek independent legal advice. Most people will want to get independent legal advice to figure out what they may have to pay if they go through with a divorce.

If you are divorcing then your legal advisers will let you know if your ex will have to pay half the mortgage based on the answers to the questions below.

● were you married, in a cohabiting relationship  or in a civil partnership with your ex? 

● Is the mortgaged house in your name or is your ex on the property deeds too?

● Are you on the mortgage deed or is any other member of your family on the mortgage deed?

● Are you a guarantor to the mortgage or is any member of your family a guarantor to the mortgage?

● Did you take out a prenup before getting married?

Do you have a cohabitation agreement? does it state what happens in the eventuality the relationship comes to an end by either party or both parties with mutual consent? Does the cohabitation agreement specifically say who will be responsible for the mortgage in these circumstances?

Does your ex still live in the family home and do they pay rent? And if yes, how much do they pay in rent?

● How much are the mortgage payments?

● Do you have an interest-only or capital repayment mortgage? Are there any linked endowment policies;

● Can you get a mortgage holiday without affecting your credit score?

● Is your ex or yourself paying spousal support and how much? Is it due to a court order?

● How much do you make annually and how much does your ex make annually? What are your monthly expenses?

● Does your ex live in the country?

The questions above will allow your legal adviser to let you know if it is likely the courts or a bit of persuasion will be able to convince your ex to pay half the mortgage.

Who pays mortgage during separation?

During separation, a lot of factors will have to be considered to determine who will pay the mortgage. If the mortgage is a joint mortgage then you are jointly liable for the mortgage and you should work out an agreement to pay it together.

Does my husband have to pay half the mortgage and child support?

Your husband may have to pay half the mortgage and child support but this all depends on what the courts decide and there are various factors they look into before giving such a decision. When looking on whether to give such a decision the court will  want to know the answers to the questions below so your legal advisor will have to ask you the below questions:

Are the children your stepchildren or biological children?
Are you paying spousal support already due to a court order?
Are any of the children disabled and are you supporting them financially?

Do you have any other children that you financially support?
Do you have children with your new partner? Or does your new partner have children?
Are you paying child maintenance under an assessment by the child maintenance service (CMS)?

If your ex is paying child maintenance under a CMS assessment then whether they will have to pay the mortgage will depend on if they were married to the child’s parent or not hence if they were married to you.

If you were unmarried then all your ex is legally obliged to pay is child support but if your ex is a higher rate taxpayer then you could apply for housing help or some form of top up child support payments to cover the housing costs.

If you were married then you can apply for spousal support which will include the monthly mortgage repayments.

What happens to mortgage when you split up?

When you split up nothing really happens to the mortgage. You will need to continue making your monthly mortgage repayments as usual.

You should decide between you and your ex on how much you will each contribute. If it is a joint mortgage or you have anything in writing stating how much you will contribute to the mortgage should you split or in any circumstances then you will have to inform your ex that they need to continue making the mortgage payments as agreed.

What are my rights to house in separation?

You may have some rights to the house during separation if you are listed on the mortgage. You may still have rights to the house if you contributed with the mortgage costs and house maintenance costs even though you are not listed under the mortgage or property deeds.

If you were married then legally you jointly own the family home with your ex and have the rights to shares of the home.

The Family Law Act 1996 also grants the following home rights:

The right to stay in your home unless a court order excludes it

The right to ask the court to enable you to return to your home (if you have moved out)

The right to know of any repossession action taken out by your mortgage lender

The right to join any mortgage possession proceedings taken out by your lender

The right to pay the mortgage, if the other party stops making the payments.

You will continue to have these rights until the divorce proceedings are over.

If a child is involved in the divorce and lives at the home then whoever is deemed the “primary caregiver” will usually get to keep the home as the courts look to avoid unsettling the child by requiring them to move with their “primary caregiver”.

If you jointly own the home through some written agreement or through a joint mortgage then you could resolve this in one of the following ways:

You could sell the house and split the proceeds equally

One of you could buy the other parties share of the home

The primary caregiver of the children who will likely remain in the home as the option to buy the other parties share when the children have grown up

In this brief guide, we discussed the question “ Does my ex have to pay half the mortgage“. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.