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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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After 36 years of married life my wife has filed for

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After 36 years of married life my wife has filed for divorce.Her father who could have helped sort things is now on his death bed and has dementia.During his successful career he set up a trust fund for the 4 children with a property portfolio worth considerable millions.Is there any way I can use this as leverage to get a quick settlement should we disagree on dividing our assets.Thanks

Hi, thank you for your question. At this time, as the father has not passed away, the trust fund/inheritance is not an asset that would be considered hers, unless she has already obtained access to it. Given the long marriage, it may be argued that despite the recent separation, the assets should form part of the matrimonial asset pool for consideration and it may be in your interest to delay a settlement until this has been received - but you will need to consider this in detail alongside the existing assets you have and whether your needs will be met from the assets.

You will both need to provide each other with full and frank financial and income disclosure, as well as disclosure of your reasonable needs. The Court's starting point is a 50-50 split of all matrimonial assets and ensuring that both your needs are met in relation to both assets and income. For your information the criteria considered by the court in these matters is:

1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

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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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Harris about 3 years ago my father inlaw bought my wife a cottage near to him.He put it in his name but the bills are in my wifes name.My wife has since doubled the size of the house and completly renovated it with money gifted to her as her bank accounts will show.Could i ask for the house to be included in our joint assets Thanks

If you are able to demonstrate that she has an interest in the property itself and that it is in you father in laws name to defeat a claim by you the court can consider it as part of her assets.