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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13128
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My boyfriends ex wife will not finalise their divorce. While

Customer Question

My boyfriends ex wife will not finalise their divorce. While making his will his solicitor pointed out to him that his wife has seven charge against their marital home which they own together and he knew nothing about, their youngest child has left education and the time has come for the asset to be divided. She is accusing him of domestic violence and abuse. This is recent. Problem is he hasn’t physically set eyes on her for eight years to do anything on her. He’s never lifted a hand and he’s been giving into her all these years because she takes the kids away and he doesn’t see them which kills him so he gives in. Can you help?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

Good morning. I will try to assist with your question but need more info first - I apologise if delayed in replying

why is she refusing?

do you mean 'seven' or 'several' charges against the home?

the youngest child is now 18 or over?

he wants to sell the property to spilt proceeds and move on?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The youngest child is 18 and she has seven charges. We think she is refusing because surely she will have to declare she has charges on the property that was assumed to be paid off?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

The charges against the former matrimonial home are only equitable charges against her share of the property (a legal charge would be against their joint share) unless he agreed and signed the documentation for the loans or whatever else it is that the subject of the charge.

The court does not apportion blame when it comes to dividing marital finances so it doesn’t matter who divorce is who or why, the financial split up is the same.

In respect of domestic violence and abuse, that just comes under unreasonable behaviour.

However if they have lived apart for 5 years or more people get divorced whether she likes it or not.

The divorce issue and the financial issue are completely separate. You can’t get a financial order without going through the divorce process but you can get divorced without going through the financial process. Children of course are an ongoing thing regardless of whether the couple get divorced or not.

I don’t know what you mean when you say that she is refusing because he can divorce her and she can't do anything about it.

If he doesn’t know where she is, he can ask the court to dispense with service of documents and if he does know where she is but she is refusing to sign the papers, he can ask the court to have the papers deemed served and the divorce process goes ahead regardless.

Here is the government page on a missing spouse

and here is the government guide on divorce is in general:

and a little on spouse ignoring the divorce petition (I couldn’t find the government webpages on this)

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

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If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
It’s easier if I show you what we have seen
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

She appears to have a few debts but that doesn’t affect my answer. There is absolutely no reason why your boyfriend should not divorce her.