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plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6029
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I'm helping a colleague who would like to separate from her

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I'm helping a colleague who would like to separate from her husband after 35 years of marriage. There has been abuse both physical and mental but perhaps that's not so relevant now as she believes her first priority is to separate and force the sale of the matrimonial home so she can buy a place of her own. The property is jointly owned and there is a small mortgage.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I’ll do my best to assist you today.

Please bear in mind as this is an email service and not live chat I may not respond immediately.

Does her husband agree that the marriage is over and agree to a divorce?

How much equity is in the property?

Do they both still work?

Do they have savings or pensions?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hello, Peter, hopefully I have enough information... ! About £420k of equity, her husband is being obstructive and from what I can gather it has always been a controlling relationship. He did agree to the sale but has now said he won't do it until he is ready and has cancelled the instruction to the estate agent. He is self employed and doesn't have a pension to the best of my knowledge, she is a Teaching Assistant, she tells me she has no savings, he has, I believe, always kept his affairs private. He did originally agree that they should go their separate ways but perhaps now it seems like she is serious he has changed his mind.

Thank you - and just to check, there are no children under 18 still living at home?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No, she is mid fifties and there are two children, both of which have left home.

OK. The most straightforward route to achieving this is through applying for divorce, as the division of their assets can be dealt with by the family court - the fees are low by comparison and it is common for courts to make an order for sale in the circumstances that you have outlined. As soon as the proceedings are commenced and she has applied for a financial order, an interim application for sale can be made.

If this is something that she is simply not ready for, the remedy is an application for sale via the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. This is going to be more costly (as it is a civil court application and there are various steps to go through) but if successful fees can be reclaimed from the other side.

I suggest that she makes an appointment for a consultation with a solicitor who can set out the two approaches so she can make an informed decision about which route to take.

In the interim, if her husband has been controlling and abusive, she can consider applying to the family court to have him excluded from the family home.

Is there anything in particular I can clarify at this stage?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you Peter, I suppose the issue with her will be one of cost, she has limited resources to the best of my knowledge, and any financial settlement negotiation could potentially be protracted and therefore costly if her husband is not willing to be cooperative. What happens when people of limited means have to go through this process as I assume the courts need to be presented with a financial plan they can sanction as part of the divorce?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I've suggested she go and see a solicitor....

In this situation, negotiation can be carried out through mediation, and then the courts will decide if there is not agreement. Mediation is relatively inexpensive. She will not need to engage a lawyer if she goes through the process herself.

This attached link is a really helpful resource for people going through this without a solicitor:

I hope this will help her get an idea of the process and how to navigate it.

plclegal and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you, i'm done!