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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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I own my own property and have just split up from my wife who

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I own my own property and have just split up from my wife who i have been married to for 5 years. Her name is XXXXX XXXXX any deeds and she has never contributed to the home. Can she force me to sell my property.
Hello and thanks for your question.

I need a bit more information first to be able to answer:

How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?

What other assets and debts are there? (of each of you, and including pensions)

What income do you and your wife each have from all sources?

If there are any dependent children, who has the day to day care of them?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


There is no mortgage on my property

There is no children

I have no debts

The propety is worth around one hundred and eighty thousand pound.

I am a RNA nurse and earn around 21,000 ayear

My wife earns around 10,000 ayear.

Thank you

Hello and thanks for the extra info.

You haven't said if there are any other assets apart from the house -as a nurse, I would anticipate that you have an NHS pension?

The reason I asked about other assets is because on divorce, the former matrimonial home is not considered on its own, but as part of the whole pot of matrimonial assets. The matrimoinal asests are everything in your sole name, everything in your wife's sole name and everything you own jointly.

Once a divorce petition has been filed at court, either party can ask the court to decide how the matrimonial assets should be decided if the couple cannot reach agreement. Both parties are under an obligation to give full financial disclosure ie to be totally honest and open to each other and to the court about all their finances & property,

Before looking at how the total matrimonial assets should be divided, there can be an argument about whether a particular asset or part of an asset is or is not a matrimonial asset.

In your case. if you bought your house some time before you met your wife, then you might be able to argue that part of the value of the house should be disregarded as a matrimonial asset. But if the house was bought as a home for the two of you, even if you bought it before you got married, then it will defintely count as a matrimonial asset, even though it is in your sole name and she did not cotribuet financially to the property.

Once there is a full list of the matrimonial assets, the court has to decide how the assets should be divided between the parties. The court starts from the position that the assets should be divided 50:50, and then looks at reasons why that should not happen eg if one party has an incoem signircantly lower than the other, they cam argue for a larger than 50% share, or if one party is to provide a home for dependent children then they can argue for a larger than 50% share.

In your case, your wife's income is very low - although I accept that yours is not large either. The court will want to reach an outcome that ensures that both parties can be housed after the divorce.

You have a mortgage capacity of £63,000 whereas your wife will only be able to get a mortgage of £30,000. Your wife's earning capacity will be relevant - whether in the very near future she can increase her hours and/or get a better job - but the court will take a lot of convincing that she really does have a good chance of earning more very soon. It is more likely that the court will accept that her income will remain low for the foreseeable future.

If properties in your area generally cost around £180,000, and your wife can only raise £30,000 by way of mortgage, she would need £150,000 to be able to rehouse herself in a similar property.

The most you can raise by way of mortgage will be £63,000 - but this sum would still be far less than 50%.

If the only matrimonial asset is the house of £180,000, 50% is £90,000. If you have a pension as well, and or any savings, then these would have to be added in as well. And the court may order that your wife should get more than 50%.

Sadly, I think it is highly likely that the court would order that the house be sold and the net sale proceeds be divided giving your wife at least 50%, but in view of her low income, probably more than that.

It's a very different outcome for a married couple that divorce, compared to the outcome for a cohabiting couple that separate, in exactly the same financial circumstances,

The logic behind the scenario for divorcing couples is that matrimonial legislation sees marriage as a joint venture in which all is shared between the parties, and when the marriage ends, the matrimonial legislation seeks to reach a fair outcome with regards XXXXX XXXXX party's needs, not with regards XXXXX XXXXX financial contribution they each made during the marriage.

Going to court is very stressful, time-consuming and expensive, so my best advice to you is to negotiate, NEGOTIATE, N E G O T I A T E ! You can negotiate either between theh two of you, or via solicitors' corrrespondence or via mediation. Mediation is a round-the-table discussion with a trained and neutral mediator.

Here's where to find a family mediation service near you:

The family court anyway now requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application to court.

I think you might benefit from some face-to-face legal advice as well. Here's where to find a specialist family law solicitor:-

If you can reach agreement, a solcitor can prepare a draft consent order for you both to sign to be filed at court for the court's approval. Once approved by the court, a consent order is as binding as a court order made after contested proceedings.

I know this wasn't the answer you hoped to receive, but it would be wrong of me to give you false hope or not to give you my honest opinion.

I hope this helps anyway and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...

UKfamsol and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again

I see you have looked at my answer but not accepted it. Please let me know if there is anything you feel I have not dealt with in your question, or if there is anything that is not clear. I'll do my best to put it right!

Otherwise, I would be grateful if you would kindly now accept and rate my answer so that I can be credited for my time.

Thanks and best wishes...