Q: My ex-husband left me for someone else seven years ago. We had only been married for six months and we bought the house I still live in when we got married. I have paid the mortgage ever since and I also paid the deposit on the house with the proceeds of a property I owned previously. We finally divorced in 2016 on the grounds of five years living apart. We went to Mediation to sort out the finances but it was never resolved as he wanted me to pay him £20,000 to sign the house over to me, which was hardly fair as he had contributed almost nothing to it. I haven’t heard from him since and don’t know where he is. Can I apply to the court to get his name removed from the deeds?
A: If you bought the property in joint names with a joint mortgage that still exists you would not be able to do anything without the consent of the mortgage lender. This usually means repaying the loan and then taking out another mortgage against the property solely in your name or else having your husband released from the existing mortgage.
If the property is held in joint names, you can apply to the court for an order to have your ex-husband’s name removed from the deeds at the Land Registry and transfer the property into your sole name. However, due to the fact that you did not reach a resolution with the assistance of a mediator, upon applying to the court, your ex-husband may pursue some form of payment from you. Depending on the circumstances of your case, he may be entitled to do so and therefore before taking steps to apply to the court, you should seek advice from a family lawyer.