Divorce and investment properties: what you need to know
If you’re going through a divorce and have investment properties, that could add up to a lot of assets and value. Divorce can be messy and the more properties you have, the more complicated it can get, so what are the important things to know
The first thing to do is engage experienced professionals to make sure you get the legals and finances right: a solicitor, property tax specialist, financial advisor, mortgage advisor and surveyor. They can help you sort through all the key questions and decisions that need to made, including:
- How much total mortgage debt and equity is there?
- Do you divide the properties?
- How do you decide who gets what?
- What impact does divorce have on your Buy to Let mortgages?
- Do you keep them running as rentals or do you sell them?
- If you sell them or buy out your spouse, are you liable for a lot of tax?
Meanwhile, here are a few key points to know and consider:
- The properties are assets and will form part of the legal financial settlement
- As a general rule, all assets within a marriage are legally deemed to be jointly owned 50/50 - regardless of whose name is on the property deeds
- If you have a mortgage in joint names, you’ll be financially linked with your spouse/ex-spouse until the product is closed. To make sure your own credit score can’t be negatively affected by their actions, it might be sensible to divide the assets as soon as possible
- If you want to take on a joint mortgage by yourself, be aware that your mortgage lender is likely to reassess your affordability. However, lenders don’t tend to withdraw mortgages unless they have good reason to, so if you can prove consistent rental income at a high enough level, they might agree to simply transfer the equity share
- In terms of Capital Gains Tax, investment property transfers between spouses are exempt. If you divorce, you get a 12-month grace period before Capital Gains Tax applies and this deadline applies to the date when the division of the portfolio is agreed, not the date when cash actually changes hands. This is correct at the time of publishing.
If you’d like a free initial consultation to discuss what could happen to your Buy to Let mortgages if you divorce, you can contact our partners, Embrace Financial Services, via our website.