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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 8032
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I married my husband in 2009, in South Africa. I already had

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I married my husband in 2009, in South Africa. I already had a house in the UK which I had capital paid off on before I married in 2009. I didn't think about a pre nup before marrying, and the mortgage was in my name until last year July 2020. My house became our marital house.I was diagnosed with incurable cancer (stage four mets in liver) in 2019, I have a few months left to live now. My husband and I thought it would be a sensible idea for him to go on the mortgage, which he did a year ago (July 2020). However, he has since told me he tried to move out in February 2020, and also wanted to leave (but didn't!) in 2015 after my mastectomy.
He walked out without warning on 28th Dec 2020. He has left me as the sole parent of our 12 year old, as well as looking after our two dogs & cats and my 18 year old daughter whose biological father passed away a few years ago. He pays £500 a month towards costs.I have been the main earner as I was an IT Consultant, however, my husband has his own gardening business and has paid approx £416 a month over six years to cost of living, bills, children, mortgage etc. I have paid the majority of the costs since over the past 7.5 years. Our outgoings were a minimum of £1800 a month.My husband walked out in December 2020 and now wants the house left to him when I pass away.
I want to leave the house to my children and was in the process of removing my husband form the mortgage and putting my 18 year old on, after a verbal agreement from my husband. He has now changed his mind, & is threatening to contest my Will.He is now demanding he gets my house when I die.Please can you advise on what is my legal standing in this situation -
• Is my husband entitled to the entire house or, is he entitled to a % of the house given I had capital invested before marrying & I have paid over 75% costs during our marriage?
• Does it make a difference that he was only on the mortgage as of last July?
• Can I leave my husband a % of the death in service as a settlement rather than giving him all of the house?
• Is he also entitled to my private pension that I earnt before we married?
• I inherited a property in Spain, is he also entitled to that in full as well?

Good evening and thank you for requesting help with your legal issue, I am happy to assist. The moderators alerted me to your request for help. I am a family law barrister and will be able to assist you.

I will not be able to respond in full this evening, as I have already finished work for the day. I hope that you don't mind waiting for a response until the morning, when you will have my full attention.

Please note that our discussions on this site are for general information purposes and do not create an lawyer-client relationship. It is always recommended that you consult with a local solicitor for specific legal information.

Thanks for your understanding, Peter

Good morning, thank you for your patience. I will say that you must seek professional assistance with drafting your will and sorting out your legacy, in order to ensure that your wishes are followed and to prevent unwanted claims on your estate from your husband.

It's not likely that a divorce would be processed in time and this is certainly not something you should have to deal with in the last few months of your life.

Starting with the main family home, his being named on the mortgage as of last year does not have much impact, as he would have established a right to the property by virtue of the marriage. There's also no prenup in place (not that these are legally binding under UK law in any event). If you are joint tenants now, you could consider severing the tenancy to separate the shares that you have in the property to enable you to pass your share directly to your children, not him. You could also consider allowing him the right to remain in the property for his lifetime but then have the asset pass on to your children - thereby providing for him during his lifetime and your children thereafter.

As to your other assets - the question should be whether these are matrimonial or not. It's arguable that any assets that precede the marriage are not matrimonial - and you can leave them to whom you wish.

Inherited property could also be excluded from a joint asset pot in your case as it's not in the UK and therefore not something that he relies on or needs to live off.

As I said, you need to make an appointment with a solicitor and draft your will very carefully. You also need to consider writing a clear letter of wishes and/ or an Inheritance Act 1975 statement to go alongside the will.

He may well wish to challenge this after your passing, but as long as there is sufficient provision for him in the will then a challenge is not likely to succeed. And sufficient provision can be the right to live in the home without him actually having full ownership, as above.

You will be able to locate a solicitor with the link here:

https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/

I hope that this answers your question?

Thank you for your enquiry today. I am happy to answer follow-up questions - please do get in touch with requests for extra information or further queries and I will do my best to help you.

Just to add, there's a really helpful information page here for you to consider: https://www.bequeathed.org/wills/is-a-will-legally-binding/disinherit-family-and-dependants#:~:text=Disinheriting%20family%20and%20dependants&text=The%20general%20rule%20in%20the,estate%20to%20anyone%20you%20choose.

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** been very helpful. I have been informed I can apply for an expedited divorce. If I can do this, what would happen to the house?

Happy to help.

If divorced, the court would be able to make a decision as to his fair share in the house as part of a divorce financial order, so with defined shares it would be simpler. The court could rule that he has a 25% share in the house, for example, instead of the assumption that it is a 50/50 starting point.

The issue with this is that financial orders do take time to resolve if the parties are not in agreement.

This article explains what happens where a spouse passes away before the financial order is made: https://www.kingsleynapley.co.uk/insights/blogs/family-law-blog/what-happens-to-a-divorce-settlement-if-a-spouse-dies-during-or-after-divorce-proceedings

Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer, please do let me know if you have any additional questions in the future. I am also happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter

plclegal and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you - you have been very helpful.