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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12304
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My father-in-law and mother-in-law have been legally married

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Hello. My father-in-law and mother-in-law have been legally married for 56 years, living separately and independently for 48 of them. My brother-in-law is convinced the long separation means they have no legal ties to each other any more e.g. half of her savings cannot be taken to fund his care in a care home and she has no automatic right to his property if he dies..... is he correct? I suspect that because there is no legal separation, they are still tied to each other and this should be declared as we are now trying to go through the Court of Protection to enable us to sell his home to fund his care.
JA: What steps have been taken? Have any papers been filed in family court?
Customer: No
JA: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county does he live in?
Customer: No-one wants to go to court.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not that I can think of.

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1. I regret to say that until such times as your father in law and mother in law get a divorce which ends their marriage, they are treated as a married couple for all purposes, including when dealing with care home and for succession upon death. So, I regret to say that your brother in law is wrong in believing they have no legal ties. Essentially, your mother in law inherits your father in law's assets as a spouse upon his death. Similarly, she has a liability to contribute to his care home costs whilst he is alive. So, you are correct in seeking to go through the Court of Protection to sell his home to fund his care home costs. I would advise the both of them, after living apart now for 48 years to consider getting a divorce if they want to avoid the implications of being married. Divorce can be done cheaply where both parties agree to divorce. So, I would advise you to get them to see a solicitor and bring their marriage to an end, as otherwise, unforeseen consequences will arise from them still being married.

Buachaill and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Thank you for this clarity.