What Happens to a Joint Mortgage After a Divorce in Dubai?
Many British couples come to Dubai to start a new life, but sometimes, plans just don’t work out. In these cases, the couple may decide that a divorce is the best option.
Unfortunately, no divorce is ever truly straightforward, even if it’s an amicable split. And if both sides are co-owners of their property, you may be wondering what happens to the joint mortgage after the divorce.
Confusion about what happens next is understandable. Does it matter where you were married, will your nationality play a factor, and will the local laws of Dubai apply to your circumstance? Does it matter who’s name is on the mortgage agreement, and was the house a 50/50 ownership?
To help you gain a better understanding of your position, we have put together this blog detailing everything that happens to a joint mortgage after a divorce.
Divorcing in Dubai
Dubai is no stranger to divorces. According to the Dubai Statistics Centre, there are six cases of divorce for every 1000 marriages in the city. This is a figure that’s considered higher than the global average rate.
At the very least, you are not alone in your predicament. Over 85% of Dubai’s population are expats from all over the world. This means that the city has had to adapt to the requirements of its citizens. As such, there are different ways you can approach your divorce, meaning you should find a way to resolve your joint mortgage predicament.
Some British expats believe that if they live in Dubai, they have to divorce through the city’s courts — likewise if they got married in Dubai. However, this isn’t true. As long as you are a British citizen, you can divorce through the British courts.
However, Sharia law may apply. Priority is usually given to the husband’s state of law — meaning if you’re a British female married to a UAE male, your divorce may go through an Emirati court instead.
You will need to seek the right legal counsel to ensure your divorce goes through the proper channels, so make sure to get in touch with a solicitor who can help.
What Happens to the Joint Mortgage After a Divorce?
To start, it’s important to remember that you need to keep up with your mortgage repayments even after you have separated. Because you have a joint mortgage, both sides are liable for it until it has been paid off in full, and you could find yourself in financial trouble if you don’t make the payments on time.
In an ideal world, both sides will reach an agreeable solution. If your property is a 50/50 ownership, there are two options:
- The house is sold and the rest of the mortgage is paid off
- The mortgage is refinanced so only one person’s name is on it
As we mentioned earlier, though, no divorce ever runs smoothly. While the two options above can make things easier for both sides, it relies on the divorce being courteous.
You may find that your partner doesn’t want to sell the property, or maybe it’s you who doesn’t want to sell. This reason is more common if the divorce isn’t amicable or if selling up will disrupt the lives of children even further.
While we’re mortgage brokers, not divorce lawyers, we do urge you to think about what’s best for your children if their lives are going to be affected.
The other option is to refinance the mortgage. This will put the property in one person’s name, absolving the other party from having to make any more mortgage payments.
This too can create problems if the divorce isn’t civil. If both sides want to keep the property, it can lead to a situation where one party has to buy out the other but an agreement can’t be reached.
In a worse case scenario, lenders may reach the conclusion that neither side actually qualifies for a refinanced mortgage, meaning the property will have to be sold anyway.
Unfortunately, a joint mortgage can lead to a disaster for your credit scores after a divorce. This is why a speedy solution needs to be found. It makes no difference to your mortgage lender if your marriage is ending; they still need paying at the end of the day.
What is the Best Way to Protect Your Property?
If you need a stronger reassurance that your property will be protected after a divorce, you can get a mortgage in Dubai without your spouse. Not all lenders will make you an offer, as banks prefer both partners to be on the agreement as a general rule. To find a suitable lender and a great mortgage rate, you’ll need to ask a mortgage broker for help.
Not only can this protect your property in the event of a divorce, but you may be able to get a better mortgage rate and protect your home from creditors looking for your partner.
There are also downsides such as the law of inheritance. If you die and you’re still with your spouse, there may be a few issues to contend with. Our full article Can a Married Person get a Mortgage Without Their Spouse in Dubai provides more details.
Helping Navigate Your Joint Mortgage After a Divorce
In an ideal world, this is something we would never have to do. However, we understand that it’s important to address the situation for the good of you, your partner and your children.
If you decide to refinance your mortgage under one person’s name, Expat Mortgage will help negotiate the terms and ensure you receive the best offer. We’ll take every care to manage the process delicately and with the utmost discretion.
And as our service is completely hands-off, your input will be kept to a minimum, allowing you to focus on your family life. We know you’re going through a tough time, and our aim is to take away as much burden as possible.
For help and advice, make sure to contact the Expat Mortgage team today.