Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich

Family law

Property Ownership and Wills on Separation

Family law solicitors Prettys advise many people in Chelmsford, Ipswich and across East Anglia about the legal issues surrounding separation and divorce. Here we look at property ownership and wills on separation.

Are there different ways of owning property?


It is simple to double-check how a property is owned by applying to the Land Registry for office copy entries showing the title and register of the property.

I have heard of severing a tenancy.  What is this?

This is where a notice is served by one party on the other party that the property is to no longer be co-owned as joint tenants but instead as tenants in common.  This usually occurs where there is a separation or divorce.  While financial claims are being discussed and resolved, one co-owner may wish to revise their Will and ensure that their share in the property does not automatically go to the other co-owner.  They therefore sever the tenancy so that they portion off their half and then re-make their Will to leave their share to whoever they wish.  Severing a tenancy can be done without the consent of the other owner, but there are legal requirements to serving the notice on the other party to make the severance valid. 

What if we are married but the property is in my spouse’s name; should I be worried?

A property held in one party’s name is still deemed marital property, but you should think about protecting your interest.  If your name is not on the title to the property, the owner could sell the property and bank or spend the proceeds without reference to you.  You should therefore register a Matrimonial Home Rights Notice against the title to the property, which protects you by notifying a purchaser of your interest in the property pending resolution of financial claims.  You do not need the owner’s consent to register the MHRN, but they will be notified once it is registered.

What if I want to register something on the title but we are not married?

It is possible to enter a restriction on the title of the property, but the Land Registry will want to be satisfied that your claims are valid.  This is a more technical issue so talk to us if you are unsure and have a look at our Living Together FAQs.

If I am separating or divorcing should I change my Will?

Once a Decree Absolute comes through, your marriage will be dissolved and any gifts to your ex-spouse in your Will will lapse.  If you therefore want to make a gift to your ex-spouse after divorce you will need to re-make your Will to clarify this.  You should in any event re-make your Will after divorce or separation to clarify where you wish your estate to pass.  It is possible to make Wills in contemplation of divorce.  Talk to a lawyer at Prettys, or contact our Estates Team on 01473 232121.

Where can I get more information?

Contact Prettys’ team of family law solicitors on 01473 232121, click here to ask for a call back or send an email request here.


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