Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy in Divorce

 

In my last post Severing a joint tenancy in divorce I explained just what this painful-sounding procedure involved and why divorced or separated partners might want to serve a Notice of Severance  of Joint Tenancy upon each other.

I should have expected the request that followed: “What does a Notice of Severance look like” and “Can I prepare my own?”

Sample Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy

Well, here it is: Notice of Severance.  It’s in Word format so you can download it or cut and paste into your own document.  As advised in my last post on this subject I would urge anyone considering using this procedure to read my previous post and obtain legal advice upon the consequences of sending such a notice pursuant to divorce to their spouse or partner.

I have also been asked: “How do I send it to my wife/husband?”

Sample letter to spouse

If you have a solicitor acting for you then they would send the Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy to your co-owner.  I am presuming that most of the people reading my blog only have piecemeal access or perhaps no access to quality family law advice.  In that case, if you were preparing the Notice of Severance yourself and sending it directly to your spouse or partner I would suggest you do so by special delivery and use the following covering letter:

Dear Ex,

I am enclosing a Notice of Severance of Joint Tenancy which I have prepared in duplicate.  

Please sign and date both copies of the Notice.  Please then return one of the copies to me. I will then send the Notice to the District Land Registry.

Even if you do not sign the Notice, or return it to me, the effect of the notice is that our property [insert the name of the jointly owned property] will still be owned by you and me jointly but in the eyes of the law it will be as ‘Tenants in Common’.  This means that if you die before me your share in the property will pass according to the terms of your Will or under the rules of intestacy if you do not have a Will.   Your share in the property will no longer pass automatically to me.  The same situation applies if I die before you: my share will pass to the person specified in my Will and not to you.

I would strongly recommend you to review your Will and make a fresh one if appropriate.  Alternatively, if you have not made a Will, this is a good opportunity for you to do so and you should show this Notice to your lawyer.

I look forward to hearing from you with the signed Notice of Severance.

You then have to sit back and wait for the signed Notice of Severance to return.  Once it does, you will need to send it,  along with a specific form called Form SEV, to District Land Registry.  If enough people express an interest in this topic, I will consider another post devoted to the completion of Form SEV.

Note: Form SEV is subject to Crown Copyright.

 

 

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  1. Alex’s avatar

    Thank you so much for this article .
    I really wasn’t aware of all this! I am divorced and financial settlement , 2 years down the line is not sorted!
    I am going to go ahead with this to secure at least the part house for myself and my son , although I am the only one who is paying mortgage and all the bills since my ex left!
    I have tried to find if you have wrote the post , how to fill in SEV form but without much luck ! 🙁

    Take Care

    Reply

    1. DivorceFT’s avatar

      Hi Alex,

      I’m pleased you found the post useful. I haven’t got around to suggesting how to complete the form you refer to simply because I subsequently received so many requests for information on child support and general maintenance issues that nearly all my time on this blog was taken up with this pressing subject. I still have several requests for posts on the subject of maintenance that I just haven’t found the time to deal with.

      I will return to the topic of severance but I just can’t promise when that will be at the moment. Sorry!

      Reply

    2. Sharyna’s avatar

      I too have found this post useful, thank you!… Can you tell me please if when writing a covering letter re severance, should I include ‘without prejudice’? I’m never really sure when it should or shouldn’t be used.

      Reply

      1. Alan Larkin’s avatar

        Hello!

        You DO NOT need to make the covering letter ‘without prejudice’. When or when not to use ‘without prejudice’ on communications is a massive topic. But you do not need to use it in this specific matter.

        Cheers.

        Reply

      2. BAFS’s avatar

        Hello Alan, I have to say your responses are very helpful thank you. I have a question my brother wife has filed for a divorce. He has a number of medical conditions and continues to hold onto his job. Pays all the bills and paid off the mortgage before he became ill. He has developed a condition called fahrs impacts on his cognitive capabilities. She is pushing hard for a divorce and looking for him to complete form E . He has not served the divorce papers as yet. Can she demand this information?

        We also share a property we were all grew up in from our parents and whilst we inherited it the initial capital was paid by the siblings as my father was retired . She now wants a share of this property, their matrimonial property is mortgage free thanks to my brother.

        Has she a right to his share of his ?
        As we siblings are very close we never worried
        about our shares-we registered it ourselves and believe it was as joint tenants . There were 5 siblings but we registered the house in just 3 names. As one of my brother was ‘mentally disabled” and the other brother name is not on it. . To protect our appropriate share can I Serverance a notice to my 2 other brothers to change it to tenants in common and declare 60 percent as my share .? My 2 other brothers on the register have no objections as the brother whose wife as filed a divorce does not rightfully own a third of our inherited property ?
        Or will this be seen as depriving her of her share – this was our family home and something we hoped to pass to our children or use funds to enjoy our retirement.

        It would be great to get a steer from you.
        Thanks in advance
        B.

        Reply

        1. Alan Larkin’s avatar

          Hi there,

          There’s quite a lot in this enquiry! My observations will have to be general and are as follows:

          If your brother is going to struggle to deal with the divorce proceedings then he should obtain legal advice if he can afford it. If your brother’s cognitive capabilities were to deteriorate to the extent that he was unable to give instructions to a solicitor then he may need someone like you to be appointed to give instructions on his behalf. This is sometimes called a Litigation Friend if there are proceedings.

          There may be divorce proceedings but that is different to financial proceedings in divorce. The first deals with the dissolution of the marriage (such as the lodging of a divorce petition) and the second seeks the assistance of the family court to deal with financial claims arising out of the divorce. Many people get a divorce without dealing with the financial claims. So: does your brother need to complete a Form E? No, if the request is on a voluntary basis. Yes, if there are financial proceedings and the court is asking for it to be completed. BUT: it does not hurt to deal with Form E on a voluntary basis to try and get settlement outside the court process.

          The inherited property may well stay out of the matrimonial pot if it existed before the marriage and if it has never been used as a matrimonial home. But your brother’s share must be valued on his Form E. It must be genuinely valued. Whether your brother’s wife can make a claim upon it I am unable to give an opinion. If there is enough value in the matrimonial home to deal with her housing needs then the inherited property (or at least your brother’s share) may not be brought into account. But there are so many other factors, I cannot really comment further.

          You and your siblings need legal advice on this property. You can sever the joint tenancy with a notice of severance but remember you need Wills to pass on the severed interests. If you take your brother’s share I’m afraid this is likely to be viewed dimly by the family court if it comes to its attention. She cannot be deprived of a share in the property since she does not have a legal interest in it (as far it appears) but this action would look like your brother was trying to dispose of his interest to help him in the divorce proceedings.

          If 5 of you have an interest should there not be 5 shares? – perhaps you need to get legal advice to transfer the property into 5 names (as tenants in common). That would reflect the reality of the situation and properly reflect your brother’s value in the property (a reduced value if the ownership goes from 3 to 5).

          I hope that helps.

          Reply

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