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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33813
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Hello,I've recently got divorced. A consent order was

Resolved Question:

Hello, I've recently got divorced. A consent order was signed by both of us and approved by a judge, and the decree absolute has been pronounced. We're done. However, my ex-husband now wants me to give him two paintings which were given to us as a wedding present and which have been in my house for the past three years. My understanding is that these paintings come under the contents of my property, and under the consent order he has no claim over the property or the contents, so these paintings are now mine and he has no legal leverage to take them from me. Am I right? Or does he have any ability to re-open the consent order or otherwise take legal action to retrieve these items? Thanks in advance for your help. Kind regards, Abby

Background if helpful:

My keeping these items is likely to be an extremely emotive issue for my ex and will cause him to attempt to to come after my home, my pension and any other asset I own so I need to ensure I'm water-tight before I dig my heels in about this! He did not engage a solicitor to act for him regarding our divorce (or engage with the divorce process at all himself) so was not advised to list these paintings in the consent order as items he wanted returned.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Was there a short court hearing regarding the Consent Order when it was made?
What is the value of the paintings?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare,

No, there was no court hearing. Our agreement was very straightforward - we agreed to leave each other's stuff alone. Our assets were of pretty much equal value except that I have significantly more pension because I am significantly older than my ex.

The paintings are worth a max of £1000 as neither are signed by the artist. It's not the value that's causing the emotion but that one of the paintings is by my ex's grandfather, who was a Royal Academician and quite a well regarded artist, so it has 'sentimental value'. My ex has access to many of Jack Millar's paintings that his family own but I only have access to this one, and I am very fond of it. I had them valued, included them in my house insurance, cared for them and been solely responsible for them for the past three years.

Thank you for your help with this matter.

Kind regards,

Abby

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Did you have a solicitor who drafted the Order?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes. I acted for myself throughout with advice from my.solicitor, and she drafted the consent order for me..
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What is the exact wording of the clause that covers contents?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The exact wording in the consent order is as follows:-

Agreements

UPON the parties acknowledging and agreeing that:

3. The terms of this order are accepted in full and final satisfaction of

i)...

ii)...

iii)...

iv) All claims in respect of personal belongings and contents

v) All claims against each other's estate upon death

vi) All other claims of any nature arising which one may have against the other howsoever arising out of their marriage

4. The respondent agreeing that he has no legal interest in the property

6. The applicant and respondent agreeing that neither of them has any legal or equitable interest in the property or assets owned by the other except as provided for in this order.

It is ordered by consent and subject to the decree absolute (which was granted on October 28th 2014) ....neither the applicant nor the respondent shall be entitled to make any further application in relation to their marriage under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 etc.

The paintings are not mentioned at all in the order.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Then yes you are correct the terms of the Order mean that you each keep what you have - including the paintings.
It is possible that your ex will try and claim that since he did not have legal advice at the time the Order was made, and you did, then he did not understand what the implications of the Order were.
It is hard to predict how successful that claim will be because much depends oh the approach of the Court - it is unlikely that it would be successful - but it could cause you a great deal of hassle!
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33813
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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