Transferring a house after a divorce

The legalities of transferring a property after a divorce depend on the terms of the divorce settlement and the nature of the property ownership. Once a court has granted a decree of divorce, properties must be transferred as stipulated in the agreement.

If a property was jointly owned by the spouses, the parties may agree to sell the property and divide the proceeds. Or one party may agree to transfer their share of the property to the other party.

The transfer itself may take a few months, but the interests of the party who acquired the property in terms of the divorce settlement are protected. That means, the other party cannot use the property as security for debts or encumber it with a mortgage.

If one spouse owned the property prior to the marriage, the transfer of ownership may be more complex. In general, if the property was acquired before the marriage and was not used for the common benefit of both spouses during the marriage, it may be excluded from the joint estate and remain the property of the original owner.

But if the property was acquired during the marriage, for example, with funds from the joint estate, it may be considered part of the joint estate and subject to division in the divorce settlement.

Once the terms of the divorce settlement have been agreed upon, the transfer of ownership can take place through a conveyancing process. This typically involves the registration of the transfer of ownership with the Deeds Office, which requires the submission of various documents and the payment of fees and taxes.

It’s important to note that the transfer of ownership must comply with all relevant legal requirements and procedures, including those related to transfer duties, capital gains tax, and municipal bylaws.

The parties should seek legal advice to protect their rights and interests, and to ensure that the transfer is conducted in accordance with the law.