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Talks Divorce

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QUESTION

I have been married for some 23 years, and have two children. My parents owned a large farm, which I
inherited, and since separation I have obtained Planning Consent to put a development on part of the farm, which has made that land very valuable indeed.

My husband has always worked during our marriage, but we have not lived particularly extravagantly. I have been unhappy for a very long time, and want to divorce, but need to know whether my husband is
going to be entitled to a full half of the value of the farm and the development land, which has come
direct from my efforts and my family.

What do you think?

ANSWER

I think it is unlikely that your husband will be entitled to 50% of the value of the farm and the development land, unless he can demonstrate a very significant contribution towards the obtaining of Planning Consent or an exponential contribution to the family generally.

However, you are walking away from a very long marriage, and the length of the marriage is a significant consideration in the Family Courts when marriages come to an end. Indeed the longer the marriage, the higher both spouses’ liability one to another.

However, it does seem to me that your position is assisted by the recent case of Robson V Robson in the Court of Appeal in which Mr Robson appealed against a generous order to his wife out of inherited assets. The Court of Appeal stated in terms that they thought that Mrs Robson’s needs needed to be generally catered for, but that she was not entitled to receive more than she needed to have in order to live comfortably for the rest of her life.

You have not given me any figures here, but I suspect that in your case the Court would take a very similar approach.

QUESTION

I have been going through a divorce for some 12 months, but do not seem to be making a great deal of progress.

My husband is very aggressive and I think he is hiding assets, but my solicitor does not seem to be able to push things forward, and I am losing faith in him.

Is it possible for me to change solicitors at this stage?

ANSWER

Yes.

In fact, it is most important that you have faith and trust in the solicitor dealing with your divorce. It is likely that you will only divorce once in your life, and it is of course important that you do not look back on this period and feel that had you had a better lawyer, or indeed a better understanding of the situation, that you would have obtained a better result.

On the contrary, you need to feel that you and your legal team have done their best and achieved the best result possible in all the circumstances, and this will give you the peace of mind that will enable you to go forward constructively to a new future.

If you are unhappy with your lawyer you should seek out an alternative solicitor in whom you have more confidence and transfer your instructions. Frequently solicitors ask to be paid before they will transfer their file, but most of the pleadings and paperwork that your solicitor already has will be capable of being obtained from the Court or your husband’s solicitors, and if you are not able to pay the final bill this should not prevent you from moving lawyers.