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Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My wife left our house in May to live in our holiday

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My wife left our house in May to live in our holiday caravan. She has not returned to the matrimonial home since July despite my requests.
In November I decided to tell her I wanted a divorce and am in the process of starting proceedings. A petition has been drafted but is on hold until a mediation meeting can be held to discuss formal separation agreement. She is stalling on this meeting and refusing to sell the house. The house is owned outright and valued at £250 - £280k. Her personal assets including pensions would be worth about £60-100k. She would also be untitled to medical benefits in the future.
I am being reasonable as my own assets are considerably less than hers in only asking for my half of the house when it is sold.
We have no children, but unfortunately my wife has a slowly deteriating terminal illness. She is not recieving care or support and is still independently mobile although not driving.
She returned to the house for a few days while I stayed with friends. While I was away she removed small valuable antiques and jewellery which would have counted as joint assets in any future settlement. She has now left the home to stay with friends not giving a date for return or discussion of divorce.
My questions are:
1. I believe my trust has been breached by the removal of assets and am fearful of further items being removed. Can I now restrict or stop access until any legal agreement is reached? Can I change the locks to prevent access when I am not at home?
2. Can she stop the house being sold on the basis that she is claiming that I am making her homeless?
3. Is it reasonable for me expect her to return for a mediation meeting sooner than her estimated return which could be 6 weeks or longer? I would be prepared to travel to her location for such a meeting.
Kind regards
Hi, thanks for your question.
1. As it is the matrimonial home, and in the absence of an occupation order or undertaking by her she is entitled to return to the property therefore you will not be able to change the locks. I would suggest that your solicitor write her a letter regarding the assets she has removed and explain that she must return these forthwith, in any event you will need to disclose all these in the financial negotiations and if she does not return them then this will be taken into account when dividing assets. As for the remaining assets and valuables have you considered safely storing them elsewhere until the matter has settled?
2. She can prevent the sale of the house until the court has made a decision - as it is the matrimonial home she is entitled to occupy and a possible share of the property upon divorce.
3. As she has been reluctant to attend mediation then your solicitor should be considering proceeding with at least the divorce proceedings without mediation to prevent further delay.
Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this.
Harris and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks, ***** ***** you have confirmed what I thought the answer would be. Although very frustrating. I don't think there would be any benefit asking further questions at this point.
No worries, hope it goes well. You can ask me questions in the future directly if you start your question For Harris