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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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Can you please assist, my enquiry is around “Family Law” - I

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Hi, can you please assist, my enquiry is around “Family Law” - I have a number of questions around divorce entitlement and custody.. thanks.

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:
-How old are you both?
-How long have you been married?
-Do you have any children together, if so their ages and proposed arrangements?
-What is the value of the property, and what is the outstanding mortgage?
-Who is now living in the property?
-Whose name is ***** ***** in?
-What other assets and pensions do you both have (both sole and joint), together with values?
-What are your respective incomes?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harris,
My current situation is that my relationship with my wife is deteriorating and I would like to know where I stand in the event of a divorce on a number of aspects.We have been married since 2010 and co-habiting perhaps a year before that. My wife is Colombian and we were actually married in Colombia and then had the marriage certificate from their legalised over here. We are 45 and 43 respectively and have one child who is 4 years old.When my wife moved into my property she was working for about a year before she fell pregnant – in that time as she was on a relatively low income she only contributed to food expenses and a nominal amount to bills. My wife over our time together has contributed no money towards the mortgage or upkeep of the property. Over the last five years I have solely supported my wife and child. It is my wife’s intention to return to work again when our child starts school later this year.Marriage Certificate:
Would you advise to check the legality of the marriage certificate itself?Custody:
We both love our Son dearly and have the same opinion that Sam comes first. He starts school this year and as we live in a good area the school is also very good and we would be keen to both stay in the same area. A few questions..I would very much like to gain joint custody – how likely is this and could my wife contest it
If my wife was to gain custody would she be at liberty to relocate if she met someone else etc?
If my wife was to gain custody does she have any legal right to move back to Colombia with our child who is a UK passport holder only?Inheritance:
Whilst we remain married can I ensure that if anything should happen to me that my Son inherits my property, possessions etc?My Will:
What is your general advice on my Will?Maintenance:
At present I earn a relatively decent living through contracting (50k) – however at the time I met my wife I was in the “Arts” and was earning a substantially lower income. I gave up that career so that we may look to raise a family and support it. If I return to my former lower paid career how will that affect maintenance payments?Divorce Entitlements:
We all live in my property (in my name only) which I have owned since 2002. The value is around £750k with an outstanding mortgage of £337k. My wife over our time together has contributed no money towards the mortgage or upkeep of the property. This is very much a pre-existing asset – does my wife have any entitlement from it?As I have no real pension to speak of I’m investigating releasing funds from my property in a bid to look at a Buy-to-Let property. If we divorced would this asset be considered a joint asset and be included in any settlement even though it would be entirely financed by myself?Family Inheritance:
My Mother is quite elderly – if my mother should pass before we divorced would my wife be entitled to anything from the estate?Other Assets:
Pension -
I have no real pension to speak of.
Car -
Bought and paid for by myself – again no contributions madeNothing much else really.Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.
Best Regards,
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Harris,
Can you give me an indications as to when I can receive your answers - their is no immediate rush but just so I know.
Thanks and regards,

Thanks for confirming. I will respond in turn to your subheadings:

Marriage Certificate: If the marriage was legal in Columbia and you have the original marriage certificate, and either of you reside in England or Wales, you can pursue a divorce here.

Custody: This is not a straightforward answer and a detailed assessment will need to be carried out - but as you are married you will have parental responsibility and she cannot make major decisions without your involvement. You would be entitled to contest any relocation. Furthermore, your son has a right to a relationship with both of you which can only be reasonably restricted if there are welfare concerns. Shared arrangements are common place these days.

Inheritance and Will: You should immediately think about putting a will in place regarding your assets and estate. However, if you make no provision for your wife and you pass away, she would have grounds to claim reasonable support from your estate and this would be her legal entitlement even if you have excluded her from your will.

Maintenance: If you give up your current employment and work at a lower salary this will limit your income and thereby preventing or reducing your child and spousal maintenance liability. However, the court has the power to assess your true earning capacity and if it is found that you have done this to prevent a claim by her then the court can make a decision and penalise you for this.

Divorce Entitlements: Given your medium length marriage and one child from the marriage, the court's starting point is a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets. Despite the home being in your sole name, it is the matrimonial home and considered a matrimonial asset. She has home rights to occupy the property and can make a claim towards it. The court not only considers financial contributions, but also non-financial contributions such as a major relocation from a country to be here and upkeep and child-rearing. All and any property during negotiations will need to be disclosed by both of you and this will be considered, so if you buy a property now this will be taken into account.

Family inheritance: If your mother passes before divorce, this does not automatically bring it in to the matrimonial assets, but if you, your wife and your son's needs cannot be met from the matrimonial assets, then the court will take it into account.

I hope this assists you. If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for your question without a positive rating. Thank you.

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