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Peter Collins
Peter Collins,
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 8554
Experience:  Barrister at Self Employed
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I am separating from my French husband and he is in the

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I am French and I am separating from my French husband and he is in the process of receiving a heritage from his mother. I'd like to know if I am entitled to any of it, as legally we are still married. He left last Sunday
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I live in Richmond upon Thames, Surrey
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Not at all and he still has few things in my place
JA: Is there anything else the Expert should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We are financially broke, so before you connect me, I'd to know the cost of the consultation

Good afternoon.

My name is ***** ***** I specialise in family law. I’m happy to assist you today and I appreciate that is is important that you find a resolution as soon as possible.

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.

I'll do my best to resolve this for you, please give me time to review your question and I will revert back to you shortly.

Generally in divorce settlements in England and Wales all assets of the marriage are pooled and treated as joint assets. Money or property that are inherited are not automatically excluded from the assets to be divided.

However, every case is different and depends on individual circumstances including the size of the inheritance, when the asset is received, how it was dealt with during the marriage, and what the financial needs are of both parties. The financial needs of one or both parties may mean that inherited assets have to go into the ‘pot’.

The key questions when it comes to past inheritance and divorce are the size of the inheritance, when it was received, how it has been used and the financial needs of the parties and if there are children at the time of the divorce.

A recent Court of Appeal case has set out some useful guidelines:

  • Each case depends on the individual facts and circumstances
  • If inherited assets are transferred to joint names or used for the benefit of the couple/family, they are likely to form part of the ‘pot’ of matrimonial assets available for division by the Court
  • Inherited assets received shortly before the breakdown of the marriage are less likely to be included in the matrimonial assets for division, depending on whether the other assets are sufficient to meet the couple’s or family’s future needs
  • The needs of the family, especially where there are minor children, will be the overriding consideration and if the only way to meet those needs is by transferring inherited assets or assets deriving from them, to the other party, the Court may do this.

In your case, you aren't prevented from making a claim on the asset, but it's less likely to automatically be included if the asset is received after separation, though the court has the power to make this judgment call of course.

It will therefore depend on the size of the asset and then the court's assessment of the balance between your needs and your husband's needs as to whether you are awarded any of the asset in a final settlement, if it is not automatically included.

I appreciate this is not a definitive answer, but that would be impossible to give. I do trust that this has been of assistance however.

Can I clarify anything further about this for you today?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I was expecting to have information in relation to the French law ??

OK, you are in the UK law section of the site. I will say though that if you are resident in the UK, your divorce would normally be managed by the UK courts given this is where you are habitually resident.

I can't advise on the law governing divorce and assets in France, but as I said if you are resident in the UK then UK divorce law would normally apply.

If you need a French perspective you would need to post a question in the French law category, or better still contact a French lawyer directly (as I don't think we have French divorce law specialists on JustAnswer currently).

I trust this clarifies the point? Many UK residents with overseas marriages divorce in the UK courts each year.

Can I clarify further?

I didn't hear from you, but I trust that the information provided was of assistance.

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.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi Peter, I guess it's not your fault, but before I even agree to get the membership, I let it very clair that I needed help with the French law. And that's the only reason for me to pay for the membership. I feel I was mislead into paying something that your people new it wasn't for me. You give a long explanation about divorce here. But I was married in France, my husband is now living in France and the heritage in question is from her mother who passed away in France, so I don't see how I could get any help from the UK law. Sorry, you're not helping me. I'd rather have my money back.

Good morning. I cannot address any billing or customer account matters, as I don't have access to that information. Please contact customer services for help with that, here:

Telephone: 0808(###) ###-####/p>

I appreciate that you are French, and originally married in France, but you are habitually resident in the UK and can (and should) therefore apply through the UK courts for a divorce and subsequent financial settlement. Your country of habitual residence (UK) is the correct jurisdiction for divorce and financial matters.

I can also be fairly certain that by doing this you may have a better chance at obtaining a fairer settlement, the law is much more flexible under the UK system than under the French.

All best wishes.

Peter Collins and other French Law Specialists are ready to help you