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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 23783
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I am currently separated from my husband and have been for 3

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I am currently separated from my husband and have been for 3 years, he agreed to sell the family home, the house was put on the market a buyer found and offer accepted, my ex husband has not returned the signed contract paperwork to the solicitor, I am also buyer on and this is holding up the sale, what can I do to get this sorted. Thank you in advance. Ms Osbourne
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No, I have not. He is also refusing to sign the divorce papers. I just want the house sale sorted so I can move on
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this yet?
Customer: I have left him a message to give me a call, but from previous conversation my ex has not been returning calls to the solicitor also
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no don’t think so

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Im sorry to hear this - can i ask how long he has 'sat' on this paperwork?

and since when he has also refused to sign the divorce papers?

Stuart J and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
He has been sitting on the sale paperwork for over a month.
The divorce paperwork was handed to him by myself in November 2019, I have since contacted the court to sell him the divorce paperwork by email as I do not have a current add for him
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
When am I going to receive the phone call?

I said that I would send you three lots of information


You have to find him.

I had a client actually a personal friend, in exactly the same situation as you and her guy kept moving.  She kept finding him and eventually got hold of his employer.  She got an attachment of earnings order.  He wasn’t very happy, but she was.

You can always use a tracing agent such as this who will do no find no fee for solicitors for GBP50 plus VAT although if you are a private individual they want payment upfront.

They also do international searches for GBP150 plus VAT but that is not no win no fee.

We have used the firm on numerous occasions and found the service excellent.

There is another one called Find UK People who I have had clients use, but I have no experience of them myself.

they provide a whole load of different services.

And the debtor tracing, as I understand, is  no find no fee.


If you don’t know where your spouse is, then provided you have made attempts to contact him, there is a process for doing that where the service of documents is dispensed with:

the government to the rescue again with a website on that subject:

If you know where your spouse is but he won’t sign the papers, then you can make an application court for Deemed Service of the papers provided you can prove he’s had them and is just ignoring them.

Here is an article on the subject:


and then, with regard to the sale,-you need an application for an order for sale.

No one can be compelled to continue to own a property which they no longer wish to own and they are able to force a sale through the courts if necessary.

The remedy is to make an application to court for an order for sale under section 14 of the Trusts of Land Appointment of Trustees Act (the Act).

Anyone wishing to sell may find that a strongly worded letter from a solicitor threatening a court application and an application for costs, may focus the mind without actually having the need to get to court.

Check  house insurance to see if there is legal expenses cover that would pay for the legal cost of taking the matter to court.

The wording of the application is along the following lines:

Therefor the claimant makes a claim pursuant to s.14 Trusts and Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1966 (TLATA) pursuant to Part 8, for the following

i   A declaration that the Claimant and Defendant are 50:50 beneficial owners of the property (or whatever percentage you are looking at):

ii  That the property be sold:

iii That there be an adjustment of the financial shares to account for the additional money spent by the Claimant in excess of the agreed £20,000 project fund, the council tax, electricity and occupation rent for the period of time the Defendant has enjoyed sole use of the Property.

iiii Costs

If I were advising anyone who has received a letter threatening an application to court under the Act and an application for legal costs, I would tell them to get the agents sign up immediately and cooperate with the sale because if they make the court application, they are likely to get it and they are likely to get costs awarded against them.

And finally, if he still won’t sign the sale contract and transfer papers you make a further application to have the court sign the papers in his stead.

Of course with all of these applications, because they are only needed because of his unreasonable behaviour, you also ask the court to order all the costs that you incur, to be paid by him.

Kind regards

Just one final thing.  At the moment, you have a mountain to climb.  Do it one step at a time.