fbpx

Judge Breaks Deadlock Between Unmarried Ex-Couple With Children

9th October 2020 By

When long-term relationships between unmarried couples break down, disentangling their property and financial affairs can be challenging, particularly where children are involved. As one case showed, however, a clean break is often the best option for all concerned.

The case involved a middle-aged couple who had continued to live uncomfortably under the same roof for more than three years after their relationship ended. Their oldest child had grown up and gone to university but their 14-year-old son still lived in the house with them amidst an increasingly fraught atmosphere. The woman largely inhabited an upstairs bedroom. She said that she felt unwelcome elsewhere in the house and was finding her situation increasingly intolerable.

The four-bedroom house, which they had bought together, was worth about £440,000. Although he for a long time disputed the point, the man eventually agreed that they each beneficially owned 50 per cent of the property. The woman, who earned a good living as an accountant, was in a stronger financial position than the man, who had been out of work for five years due to health difficulties.

The woman launched proceedings, seeking an order that the property be sold and the proceeds equally divided so that they could move on with their lives. The man, however, argued that their son’s welfare demanded that a sale be put off until he turned 21 or finished his education, whichever was the later.

Ruling on the matter, a judge noted that the boy’s school had expressed concern that his very difficult home environment was not conducive to his welfare. He needed stability and security and to be protected from exposure to his parents’ disputes. Delaying a sale of the property would also require the woman to continue living for some years in a house where she felt uncomfortable, excluded and unwanted.

Directing that the house be put on the open market as soon as possible, the judge noted that this was not a divorce case in which she had to strive to achieve financial or lifestyle parity between the higher-earning woman and the lower-earning man. His parents had given him generous financial support and had paid the boy’s school fees. The boy did not require to live in a four-bedroom house and the couple each had equity in the house of up to £170,000 which should enable them to purchase more modest properties in the area.

Source: Concious

Latest News

COVID-19 and Parental Contact With Children in Care – Guideline Ruling

19th October, 2020 By

How, if at all, is the duty of local authorities to allow children in their care reasonable contact with their parents affected by social distancing rules arising from the COVID-19 pandemic? The Court of Appeal confronted that issue in a guideline case. The case concerned three young children who were taken into interim care after one of them suffered a broken leg, an injury which was considered likely to have been inflicted. The mother was in the pool of potential perpetrators and the children were therefore taken from her care...

Homelessness and the Need to Make Use of Vacant Investment Properties

15th October, 2020 By

Amidst widespread homelessness, owners of investment properties who allow them to stand empty for extended periods can find themselves on the receiving end of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs). Exactly that happened in a case concerning a desirable end-of-terrace property which had been vacant for 25 years. The house was located in an urban area where about 5,000 people were in urgent, high or medium need of permanent accommodation. The local authority took the view that the property's vacant status since 1994, combined with its deteriorating condition, was detrimental to the...

Ambiguity in Widower's Poorly Drafted Will Results in Family Stalemate

13th October, 2020 By

The whole point of engaging a professional to draft your will is to make your wishes clear in precise and unambiguous terms. If your will falls below that high standard the result, as a High Court ruling showed, can be family stalemate after you are gone. The case concerned a widower who died without children, leaving an estate worth over £600,000. By his will, he made some modest charitable gifts and bequeathed the remainder to 'such all of my nephew's and niece's children'. It was agreed that the apostrophes in...

Judge Breaks Deadlock Between Unmarried Ex-Couple With Children

9th October, 2020 By

When long-term relationships between unmarried couples break down, disentangling their property and financial affairs can be challenging, particularly where children are involved. As one case showed, however, a clean break is often the best option for all concerned. The case involved a middle-aged couple who had continued to live uncomfortably under the same roof for more than three years after their relationship ended. Their oldest child had grown up and gone to university but their 14-year-old son still lived in the house with them amidst an increasingly fraught atmosphere. The...