Lauren Preedy – Senior Solicitor – Head of Divorce Team
Property and Divorce
There are separate pages about maintenance issues and pensions, but a key part of resolving the financial side of the divorce is deciding how to deal with the couple’s property.
Property Adjustment Orders
This is the name for the order which requires one of the couple to transfer their interest in a property to the other. Orders can be transferred to the minor children of the family or adult children of the family who are still in education or where there may be special circumstances such as disability. This can extend to requiring the variation (for the benefit of the parties or their children) of a prenuptial or postnuptial settlement.
A property adjustment order cannot take effect until the granting of a decree of divorce, nullity or dissolution has been made absolute/final.
What is property?
There is no definition of property in Divorce Law. However, it generally includes buildings, land, shares, and policies as well as anything that is capable of being valued in money or money’s worth. This can include including assets in a partnership, a council tenancy, or a tenancy in the private sector.
Call our experienced Family Law Solicitors, Divorce Lawyers or Mediators now
In short, yes – the Court will assume that a foreign court will enforce its order in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. The Court has the power to make property adjustment orders regarding overseas property. If it were clear that a foreign court would disregard a UK order – then the court would still be able to take the value of that property into account when it divided up the property of the couple as a whole.
The Court will normally expect the couple to agree between them what is a reasonable value for the couples different property. If agreement cannot be reached then the court will order that an independent expert provide a valuation.
For houses and other real estate the starting point for agreeing a valuation is normally for each of the couple to obtain an open market appraisal of the value of the property by an estate agent.
Where expert valuers are to be appointed – this would require the permission of the court. The reason for this is to avoid multiple experts being instructed and then court time being wasted by disagreements between experts. The preferred approach is for a single joint expert to be appointed. Normally the single joint expert would be agreed between the parties – but failing this the court may appoint an expert itself.
if a court is considering making a property order it must also consider any dispute concerning the ownership of the property. This may mean a consideration of the rights of third parties. At a very simple level notice of divorce financial proceedings need to be provided to any mortgage company – because a mortgagee is very obviously an interested party. In most cases there is no intervention by the mortgage company.
Third parties who might intervene could be tenants or elderly family members who could be affected if an order were made to sell what would be their home as part of the divorce settlement. Or perhaps the parents of one of the couple, who may have loaned money to the couple to purchase a house.
The effect of remarriage
a property adjustment order cannot be made in favour of one of the couple if they have subsequently remarried or formed a civil partnership – unless they made application to the court prior to the remarriage or civil partnership.
Every case is different
Of course, that the court can make an order does not mean that it should or will.
Every family is different, and the outcome of every case is specific to the history and needs of that family. That is why it is important that anyone considering a divorce takes legal advice.
We are fortunate to have a very strong divorce team who will be happy to assist.
Somerset woman: Domestic abuse story is a lesson
A Somerset woman has told of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her partner, after he was found guilty of assaulting her.
The woman has publicised her story as a warning to others not to ignore ‘red flags’ in relationships.
No-fault divorce and mediation: taking the pain out of divorce
It goes without saying that divorce can be a painful experience. Much of that pain can be caused by conflict during the process, leading to stressful contested court proceedings.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Even if you have agreed your divorce settlement, you still need a court order
With the advent of online divorce more and more people are doing their own divorce, especially since no-fault divorce has made the process considerably simpler.
And having dealt with the divorce themselves, many are tempted to go one step
No-fault divorce is great, but don’t forget the financial settlement
It is almost universally agreed that the introduction of no-fault divorce has been a good thing. Gone are the days when someone wanting a divorce has had to lay the blame for the breakdown of the marriage upon their spouse.
Marriage decline shows importance of cohabitants knowing their rights
On the 19th May the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) published its latest annual figures for the number of marriages that took place in England and Wales, for the year 2019.
The figures show a continuing decline in marriage rates.
Dorset council exposed woman to risk of abuse from father
When a local authority has concerns over the welfare of a child it will usually assign a social worker to get in touch with the family and investigate the matter.
When this happens, it is of course essential that the parents
Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: playing out your private life in public
For the last month the world has eagerly watched the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial, as the two actors have exchanged lurid alleged details of their private lives.
Seeing two Hollywood stars fighting out such a battle in court
Should Olivia Wilde have been served with child custody papers whilst on stage?
When the actress Olivia Wilde was recently served with child custody papers whilst on stage it caused something of a sensation. Surely, said many, she should not have been served publicly, whilst she was working?
How Exeter City’s persistence is a lesson for all during family court proceedings.
Many congratulations to Exeter City F.C, who last week secured automatic promotion from League Two.
And the Grecians’ success came after five years of promotion near-misses, including being beaten in the final of the play-off in 2017, 2018
We are Recruiting x 3; Marketing Assistant, PA, Paralegal
We are Recruiting x 3; Marketing Assistant, PA, Paralegal The past 2 years have seen us achieve significant growth and we have firmly established ourselves as a leading regional family law solicitors practice. This year we will be joined by some additional team members who will further strengthen our team. First of these is Emma […]
Somerset Council failed to comply with adoption requirements
Somerset Council failed to comply with adoption requirements A recent High Court case has highlighted serious failures on the part of Somerset County Council to comply with the legal requirements when it has been acting as an adoption agency. Adoption agencies are organisations that work with prospective parents and children to assess, match, arrange and […]
Do I have to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting)?
Do I have to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting)? Anyone wishing to apply to the court about a family matter must first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (commonly known by the acronym ‘MIAM’), unless an exemption applies. As the name suggests, the purpose of the MIAM is to provide the […]