divorce property

Getting a divorce can be stressful at the best of times, but when you are not on the title deeds to your home there is the additional stress of wondering if you have any rights to remain in the property or to receive a share of the equity.

The first thing to note is that, when dividing the matrimonial assets, the Court places less importance on how the family home is owned legally, and will usually regard it as a joint (“matrimonial”) asset, to which each of you are potentially entitled to a share.

Secondly, there are two things you can do to protect your rights until an agreement has been reached with your former spouse or civil partner.

Protecting your property rights in a divorce

Home rights notice

The simplest way to protect your rights to the family home is to place a home rights notice on the family home title at the Land Registry. The application to the Land Registry is free.

The effect of the notice is to alert any potential buyer or lender that you have rights to the property. Buyers and lenders will usually be unwilling to have any dealings with the property unless they have your agreement that you will remove the notice. This protects you from your spouse selling or mortgaging the family home from underneath you.

Unilateral notice

When it is not possible to register a home rights notice, a unilateral notice will also alert a potential buyer or lender of your interest in the property. An application is again required to the Land Registry at a cost of £20.

A home rights notice can only be entered against one property at a time and this should be the property that you live in or the property which was most recently used as the matrimonial home. When your partner owns multiple properties in their own name, you may wish to consider placing unilateral notices on the additional properties.


It is quick and relatively cheap to apply to register your rights against your partner’s property and it will give you peace of mind that the family home, or additional properties, should not be sold without notification being sent to you and further enquiries being made by the buyer or lender.

Whilst a home rights notice is registrable at any point once you are married, it is likely that you will need to have commenced divorce proceedings before registering a unilateral notice and so it will be important in these circumstances to get advice as early as possible.

If you’re not married but would like to protect your contribution to a property, please read here.


If you have any further enquiries regarding Divorce & Property, please feel free to contact our Family Finance Team and we would be happy to help.