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shortwoman68

Who is entitled to the family home?

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I am making an enquiry on behalf of my cousin.

 

She is currently in a psychological and verbally abusive marriage and desperate to get out.   She has 3 children, one at university and the others aged 16 and 13.  My cousin brought her property before she was married however she re-mortgaged the house during her marriage and it is now in her married name. Her husbands name is not on the house deeds. 

 

They have been married for 21 years but the relationship has deteriorated and her husband is not only psychologically and verbally abusive to my cousin but also to their children to the point that her 16 year old daughter wants to leave home. 

 

Her husband does not physically look after himself, for example he has diabetes but did not follow the doctors advice and has had his two big toes amputated and continued neglecting himself and is now on dialysis which he has now stopped attending.  When my cousin asks him why he did not attend, he makes excuses and when she tells him that he will make himself worse, he tells her not to talk to him and that he will just die.  

 

My cousin has said that she has had enough and has asked him to leave but he has refused.  She is mentally drained and worried about the impact his behaviour is having on their children. She has spoken to a solicitor who informed her that she cannot get him to leave as the home is classed as a 'family home',  and she may lose the house of have to give him half if she divorces him and she is unable to afford to pay for another home. 

 

She pays the majority of the bills in the home and for everything for the children as he refuses to pay for anything that he feels does not benefit him.  Advice anyone please.  

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Hi.

 

I hope we can help although a divorce solicitor can't, let's see who arrives on the thread.

 

Has your cousin taken advice from places like women's refuges or organisations who help people who are being abused?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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With his medical issues, he might well end up in hospital before very long.


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Either party in a marriage can seek an entry on the Land Registry protecting their right to occupy the matrimonial home (/ prevent it being sold from under them!) where the other party in the marriage holds the sole legal ownership (at the Land Registry).

There is no need (nor ability) to do this if the legal title is held by both the married people.


This harks from the era where the man was the breadwinner / the name on the title, and was to protect the wife from being able to be put out of the matrimonial home and it sold without regard to her rights. Times have rightly moved on, and the matrimonial home sections of the Family Law Act 1996 don’t consider which partner holds the legal title, just that the rights of the other can be protected.


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/applications-under-the-family-law-act-1996/practice-guide-20-applications-under-the-family-law-act-1996

 

https://www.beestonshenton.co.uk/divorce/matrimonial-homes-rights-is-there-any-point/

 

Neither has rights over and above the other, it just gives protection to the one who doesn’t feature on the title. It also ceases when the divorce is finalised (where it is expected the financial aspect is also finalised)

 

So “if she wants him out” : this can’t be forced until the divorce is concluded.

What she can ask the solicitor to aim for is:

a) how she can get the divorce ASAP (& how long this is likely to be!),

b) if a realistic financial settlement is that one of them gets to stay in the house with the children until all the children reach 18 (or 21 if in full time education) : the focus will be on keeping a family home for non-independent children

i) if this is likely to be her that stays with children

ii) that the other holds a charge / interest in the property but can’t order the house sold until the children become adult / independent.

 

At some point he will be able to insist on his share of the property, though how much his share will be will depend on the “common intent” between them when they

a) purchased it, and

b) married.

The starting point is 50/50 split, unless it can be shown a different arrangement was agreed or envisioned.

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Thank you for you reply honeybee.  My cousin seems so demotivated and down trodden.  He father told her to get a divorce before he died nearly 10 years ago but she 'felt guilty' and listened to others who said that they should never divorce even though they did not know exactly what she was going through.  As far as I am aware, he has never been physical with her, although he chased the younger daughter who was 12 at the time, out of the house shouting that 'she was the cause of their marriage ending'.  I told my cousin that she should have called the police when this was going on as their daughter is now scared of her father. 

 

Yes brassnecked I do believe this is where he headed and I have told my cousin to be prepared for further deterioration as he seems to he determined to blame her for his deterioration. 

 

Thank you for this information but in terms of his share of the property and when it was purchase, it was only purchased by my cousin and remortgaged by her. Her husband has never had any input into the property.

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It seems like a tough position to be in.

 

How do you think we can help please?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Yes she is in a very tough position.  I have been trying to advice her.  I have told her to speak to social services for advice regarding the impact on her children, but as my sister is a senior social worker, she is going to speak to her.  She has already spoken to her GP as she seems to be falling into depression...although her GP has never seen her husband, he describes him as displaying 'narcissistic behaviour' .  I think she is afraid of what others think, not upsetting her children and keeping a sense of normality but doing all this is taking a toll on her.  She says that she feels sorry for her husband as he is estranged from his family but in the process she is not helping herself.    

 

Its just advice that I need but I am guessing that solicitors is the best way to go right now. 

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