Buying a second home while separated but before the divorce final order

It is only human to want to set down roots and secure a permanent base, and this can become too apparent when coming to terms with a separation and looming divorce. But should you buy a new home whilst waiting for your divorce to come through? What are the implications? Read on to find out.

If you are considering divorce and you require legal advice to understand your options, contact specialist family law solicitor Joanne Major. Joanne is the founder of her specialist family law firm and has spent her 25-year legal career specialising in family and matrimonial cases.

What happens to assets owned by one spouse before the divorce is made final?

Essentially, anything you owned during your marriage, regardless of whose name they were in, will be considered as matrimonial assets. The court will take into account anything owned during the marriage, and sometimes assets owned before the marriage, too, when looking to achieve a fair settlement.

So, if you purchased a new home before the final order was made, the court could take the value of it into consideration when sharing the available assets. It is possible that your ex might be able to make a claim against the value of the property, or receive more of the other available assets you both owned to take account of the fact that you have adequately addressed your needs.

It is sensible, therefore, not to buy a property before your divorce is finalised and a clean-break financial order is made. This prevents your ex from making any claims in the future against you or your estate when you die.

How can I satisfy my living arrangements pending the outcome of the divorce?

You should try to keep your financial position as static as possible until you have received the final divorce or financial order from the court. This means that if you have moved out of the former family home, you should temporarily live with family or friends, or rent somewhere, rather than buying a property.

Do not be tempted into buying a new home just so that you have somewhere to keeping your possessions. Instead, look into using a storage company where you can rent a unit to keep all your furniture and personal belongings until you can safely move it into a more permanent home.

Hotel stays can be useful for shorter periods, but longer-term are likely to be expensive, so depending on your financial circumstances, any stay should only be temporary.

While not particularly ideal, it may be sensible to remain living in the former family home with your partner while the divorce settlement is finalised. This lets you keep your belongings in a place you know there is space and where they are secure. It will also help you avoid any unnecessary expenses such as hotel charges or rent.


Can I put the property into someone else’s name?

Transferring assets into someone else’s name during the divorce process could be viewed as a way to reduce the marital pot or to avoid a subsequent purchase being considered part of it. Either way, the court will take a dim view. When deciding on how matrimonial assets should be divided, the court has a wide discretion, and this extends to looking at purchases with third parties, including family members. The court has the power to prevent transfers taking place if it believes that one party is considering such action.

When will it be safe to purchase a new home?

Most people will have experienced the house-buying process and know first-hand just how long it can take. So it would be easy to think that finding a property mid-divorce, and putting in an offer, wouldn’t necessarily complete until after the financial settlement has been reached. But this may not be the case, and if you are in a chain, almost impossible to delay until after the divorce.

Keeping demands fair by considering what your partner will want and need together with that of your children ensures the best chance of resolving the issues quickly so you can find a new home. Avoid cutting corners and carefully consider all your options before deciding how best to manage your living situation.

Find The Best Divorce & Family Lawyers Near You

We independently review and list the top divorce lawyers and family solicitors in the towns and cities near you. 100% free.

Find The Top Family Lawyers Near You

Noticed an error on this page or something broken? If so, please email us at support[at]

The information on this website is to be considered a guide and is therefore not legal advice. You use this information with the understanding that Wiselaw does not accept liability for any direct or indirect losses as a result of anyone relying on or acting upon the information on this website. Whilst we endeavour to provide accurate information, Wiselaw does not accept liability for any errors or omissions on this website.