In most relationships parties who own real estate will hold the property as either joint tenants or tenants in common.

If the property is held as joint tenants and one of the parties dies, then their half interest in the property will automatically pass to the surviving party under what is known as the ‘right of survivorship’ regardless of the terms of any Will.

If parties hold their interest as tenants in common and one dies, then their interest in the property will be determined in accordance with their Will.

If you separate, it is important to find out how you hold your interest in property and, if necessary, sever any joint tenancy.

Severing a joint tenancy to create a tenant in common ownership is a relatively straight forward process and, while there are some notice requirements, the consent of the other party is not required to sever the tenancy. Also, severing the joint tenancy does not attract stamp duty.

You should take advice from a family law specialist prior to taking any action to ensure that it is the correct course for your matter as it may not always be necessary and it can increase hostility in some cases.

If you would like assistance with your family law matter, please contact our office today to speak with one of our solicitors.