High Court makes an order to impose financial sanity on a family
High Court¹ makes interim order for a family home to be sold
In this case the family home was owned solely by the husband and worth an estimated £2.47m. Upon separation the wife and two children remained living in the family home whilst the husband left and moved into rented accommodation.
Unfortunately for the family, they had sizeable matrimonial liabilities, (including significant debts to HMRC), which meant that in reality the net assets of the family only amounted to a little over £100,000. This was coupled with the fact that there was a shortfall of approximately £20,000 per annum in terms of the family’s income, whilst they remained in their current situation.
As a result, the Judge made the somewhat unorthodox decision to make an order for the removal of the wife’s notice of home rights and rights to occupy, together with an order for the family home to be sold.
It is not often that an interim order for sale of a family home would be made in family proceedings whilst the issue of how the assets should be divided is unresolved between the couple. In this case, however, the Judge remarked that there was no alternative for the family and these measures were required in order to protect the health, safety and well-being of the parties and their children from the psychological damage of an otherwise inevitable risk of insolvency.
Whilst, in this case, the couple's ‘reckless’ spending since separation was heavily criticised, it is not perhaps uncommon for the Courts to be faced with couples whom, upon separation, find themselves in financial hardship as they are faced with the cost of running two households as opposed to just one.
The message from this case therefore must be that it is imperative that separating couples engage in sensible and realistic discussions regarding the future of the matrimonial assets so as to avoid the risk of losing everything.
We can help ...
Relationships do fall apart all too frequently but that doesn't make it any easier for the people involved. Inevitably, it's an emotional and stressful situation, and the down-to-earth, objective approach of an experienced adviser will help you get through it.
For more information please contact Gail Brooks, Associate, Private Client - Family.
Published: 20 Nov 2015