Matrimonial homes are properties that are used by married couples or civil partners as their primary residence. Determining legal rights over to a matrimonial home is often a contentious issue in divorce or separation proceedings. If a spouse is not named as a legal owner of the matrimonial home, it may be prudent to register a notice of their matrimonial home rights against the property.
Why do I need to register my home rights?
Registering matrimonial home rights will protect the right of a non-owning spouse to occupy the home and help to protect them against eviction. This registration is done by applying to the Land Registry for a formal notice to be recorded against the title to the property.
How do I register my matrimonial home rights?
The process of registering matrimonial home rights varies depending on whether the title to the property is registered or unregistered and the jurisdiction in which the property is located. Our Residential Property Team at Tees can help you work out which process to follow.
However, there are some common steps when dealing with a property in England and Wales to follow:
Determine the legal ownership of the matrimonial home:
- If both spouses are joint legal owners of the matrimonial home, then no matrimonial home rights need to be registered – both spouses’ interests are known and evident on the title and neither one of them can deal with the property single-handed (any sale or mortgage of the property will require the consent and signature of both spouses).
- If only one spouse or civil partner is the registered legal owner, then the matrimonial home rights of the non-owning spouse can be registered.
Determine if the matrimonial home is registered or unregistered:
If not known, an application for an official search of the index map should be made using Land Registry Form SIM.
Complete the appropriate application form:
- If the matrimonial home is unregistered, the spouse wanting to register a Notice of matrimonial home rights should complete the registration application form K2 and send this to the Land Charges Department. This will register a land charge against the property which will appear on any future property searches carried out on the property, bringing the existence of the home rights to the attention of any potential buyer or lender.
- If the matrimonial home is registered, they should complete the notice of home rights registration form HR1 and send this to the Land Registry. This will register a Notice on the register of title, alerting any potential buyer or lender to the existence of the home rights.
Pay any relevant fee:
When submitting the appropriate form, a fee may be payable for the registration process. More information about Land Registry fees is available online here: HM Land Registry: Registration Services fees - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Receive confirmation of registration:
After the application has been processed, the applicant will receive a registration notification that their rights have been registered. The legal owner of the matrimonial home (“the registered proprietor”) will also be notified that the non-owning spouse’s rights have been registered. The registration confirmation document should be kept in a safe place and may need to be presented as evidence in legal proceedings.
It is important to note that the registration of matrimonial home rights does not necessarily mean that both spouses have equal ownership of the property. Registration of home rights protects the right to occupy the property only, it does not grant ownership of the property. Determining the ownership or shares in a matrimonial home is something that can be resolved in the divorce proceedings – contact the Family Team at Tees for more assistance.
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