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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32994
Experience:  25 years experience of all aspects of family law
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My wife left home over 5 years when she received her inheritance

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My wife left home over 5 years when she received her inheritance from her parents. She said at the time that if I did not make a claim on her then she will not make any financial claims on me. But now she is saying that we should divorce but she wants half the jointly-owned house. Can she do this? Thank you for your assistance.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We separated over 5 years ago. We have remained on 'friendly terms'. I live alone in the former matrimonial home and have lived alone since my son moved into his own place some 18 months ago. I would like a final resolution (divorce) now to move on with my life. I have been the main earner throughout our married life. After having the first child 25 years ago, my wife was not required to or had the ambition to seek full-time employment. She took on part-time work mainly at local Sainsburys stores etc. When her inheritance came through, she decided to buy another property with her sister who was newly divorced at the time and left home. She said at the time that she would not make any financial claims from me.

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Thank you,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello, yes I am still needing assistance. Thank you.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX continue to look for a professional to assist you. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance while you wait.

Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
How much did she inherit and what income do you each have?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The matrimonial home is fully paid for and is probably worth between £230K to £250K. I do not know exactly ho much she inherited but it was enough to pay cash for a 4 bedroom property (3 bedroom extended) and the rest in investments to give her and her sister a monthly income. They both live in the house they purchased. I believe the inheritance is in the form of a trust fund - my wife and her solicitor being the executors. My annual income is just over £20K. My wife works part-time in a Sainsburys store and I do not know how much she earns. If you need exact figures for her inheritance and salary, I can ask but I doubt if she will divulge at this stage.


One other thing: I own a second property (a studio flat) which I purchased from my earnings only and is in my name only, is fully paid for and worth around £125K. The flat is managed by a letting agency and gives me a monthly income of around £420. Up until recently, I was giving the rent from the flat to my daughter whilst she was at uni and then when she was unemloyed until end of April this year - this can be verified by the bank transfers to my daughter's account. There are also monthly management charges related to the flat.


When my wife moved into her place over 5 years ago, she said that she would not be making any financial claims on me if I did not make any claims on her inheritance. I have not made any claims on her but now she is saying that she is entitled to half the matrimonial house or as an alternative is given ownership of my flat. I provided for her and the childrens every need when we were together. Unlike her, I have worked to pay for my assets (house, flat etc). She has been blessed with a good inheritance but now also wants a large chunk of what I have worked hard to achieve.


You may also like to know that when we bought our first home for £27,500 many many years ago, my wife says that she contributed £13K towards that purchase - I have no reason to doubt this as I presume she has records to verify this statement.

I am afraid that the news is not good
Given the length of the relationship the starting point for the division of the matrimonial assets is 50/50 - and that includes the property owned in your sole name - but NOT her inheritance
So far as her inheritance is concerned you have no direct claim upon it although it is taken into account as funds that are available to her.
If half of the assets would have been insufficient for you to rehouse yourself then the fact that she had those monies would have meant that you got a larger share of the assets.
Unfortunately in your case this is simply not required.
I appreciate that this is not good news but please ask if you need further information
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 32994
Experience: 25 years experience of all aspects of family law
Clare and other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response. As my wife has 50% stake in the assets, is she liable/obliged to contribute towards any maintenance costs and for insuring the matrimonial property?

Not if you are living there no.
However if you have undertaken major works that have increased the value of the property then you can claim credit for those

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