How Can I Remove My Ex-Partner’s Name from the Mortgage After Separating?
Answered on 9 November 2023 by Nick Mendes
I recently separated from my ex-partner. We share a joint mortgage and I’m staying in the property. How do I remove their name from the mortgage?
It’s very common to remove one partner's name from a joint mortgage after divorce or separation, or even to take out a completely new mortgage in just your name. The course of action that best suits you will depend on your situation.
Removing Spouse from Mortgage After Divorce or Separation
All parties on a joint mortgage are jointly and severally responsible for making sure the monthly payments are made, which means you and your ex-spouse or partner are equally liable for the mortgage all the while both names are on it. Any missed payments will damage your credit profiles equally.
It makes sense that people often want to remove their ex-spouse from the mortgage after divorce. They no longer share the property, therefore their ex-partner will be less inclined to continue making monthly payments which could damage both parties’ credit scores and put one party’s home at risk.
How to Get Your Ex Off the Mortgage After Divorce
To remove a name from a joint mortgage, they must also be removed from the title deeds - which means the ownership of the property must change. Sometimes one party actively wants to be removed, usually so they can borrow what they want on a new property with a new mortgage.
Note that you can be on the mortgage when you're not on the title deeds of a property, but you can't typically be on the title deeds if you're not on the mortgage.
Transfer of Equity
Transferring any amount of ownership of a property is called a “transfer of equity” and is carried out by a licensed conveyancer.
You can sometimes keep your current mortgage when transferring equity. Other times, you’ll want to remortgage.
Changing Names on Mortgage After Divorce
When you keep your current mortgage, but remove your ex-husband/wife/partner, their name is simply taken off the mortgage and title deeds after you divorce or separate via a transfer of equity. Your mortgage only changes insofar as it goes from a joint mortgage to a sole one, unless you add someone to the mortgage to replace your ex - like a new partner or family member. It would then remain a joint mortgage, just with someone new added to it.
You need agreement from your ex-partner and lender for a transfer of equity. To obtain your lender’s consent, you must meet their affordability criteria either by yourself or with the person replacing your ex-partner on the mortgage.
Further Advance or Second Charge
If you decide to stay with your current lender and remove your ex-partner’s name from the mortgage and title deeds, you may need to raise some extra funding to buy out your ex-partner.
You could request a further advance with your current lender or take out a second charge loan with a different lender if necessary. In both these instances you would have to demonstrate that you could afford the extra borrowing, in addition to the original mortgage. You can add a new borrower to the second charge as well as the original mortgage.
If you don't meet your lender’s criteria, or you need to raise capital to buy out your ex-partner as they’re entitled to equity in the property, you may want to consider remortgaging.
Remortgaging is where you stay in the same property but take out a new mortgage with a new lender. It’s a way to switch provider to release equity to raise money and maybe secure a more affordable deal.
You can remortgage without your ex-partner but you'll still need their consent to do this. The solicitor will take your ex-partner’s name off the title deeds when you remortgage.
See below for some examples of when you may need to buy out your ex-partner.
How to Get Your Ex-Partner's Name Off Joint Mortgage if You Don’t Have Their Consent
It may be possible to obtain a court order to remove your ex from the title deeds and transfer ownership of the property to you solely if your ex-partner doesn’t agree to a transfer of equity. This would enable your lender to change the name on the mortgage without their permission or signatures. You’ll need to speak to a solicitor about this.
Find out more about how divorce or separation impacts your mortgage in our guide.
Is My Ex-Partner Entitled to Any of the Equity in the Property?
Your ex-partner will be entitled to some of the equity in the property if his/her name is on the title deeds and the property is sold.
If their name is not on the title deeds, they still might be able to able to make a legal argument to establish a beneficial interest in the property.
The may be able to establish a beneficial interest if:
- They contributed to the mortgage
- They helped fund improvements to the property
- You were both married or in a civil partnership
It’s worth noting that your ex-partner isn’t necessarily entitled to a share in the property because they made a financial contribution. We always recommend you consult a solicitor and obtain legal advice. They can help you establish your rights and options.
What Is the Cost of Removing My Ex-Partner’s Name from the House Title?
The cost of removing your ex-partner from the house deeds will depend on whether you can buy your ex out of the property.
How Can I Buy My Ex Out of the House?
A remortgage, further advance, or a second charge are a few ways to raise the funds you need and take your ex-partner off the title deeds.
You should speak with a solicitor to find out whether and how much you’ll have to pay your ex as this is a legal, rather than mortgage matter.
Other Costs When Removing Ex from Title Deeds
- Solicitors' fees – these may vary significantly from solicitor to solicitor and depend upon the amount of work required for the separation as a whole
- Valuation fee – this is often free with many remortgage deals
- Broker fee – if remortgaging via an independent mortgage broker
- Divorce and Mortgage Guide
- Can I Get a New Joint Mortgage Even Though I'm Still on the Joint One with My Ex-Wife?
- Can I Remortgage Without My Partner's Consent?
- Can My Ex-Partner Remove My Name from the Mortgage Without My Permission?
- After Separation, Am I Classed as a First-Time Buyer Again for Mortgage Purposes?
- I'm About to Get Divorced. Can I Get a Mortgage Using the Maintenance Payments?
- Ex-Partner on Old Mortgage, We Want a New One
- What Can I Do if My Ex-Partner Stops Paying Their Share of the Mortgage After Separating?
- What Happens to My Mortgage After Getting a Divorce?
- Will My Ex-Wife Have Any Claim on My New Home?
- Video: Mortgages and Divorce
Ask The Mortgage Experts answers are based on the information provided and do not constitute advice under the Financial Services & Markets Act. They reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of John Charcol. All comments are made in good faith, and John Charcol will not accept liability for them. We recommend you seek professional advice with regard to any of these topics where appropriate.