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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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Living together

  • fairtrial
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09 Jan 08 #10331 by fairtrial
Topic started by fairtrial
Hi, I just wondered if anyone knows the answer to this. My girlfriend has been separated from her husband for 18 months when he left her to go and live with his girlfriend. They still live together.I have only known my girlfriend for 4 months. I came on the scene after she and her husband separated. They are going through divorce proceedings but it is taking forever. He is suggesting that if we live together for more than 6 months he can force her to sell the family home where she and her son live. Is this true?

  • mike62
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09 Jan 08 #10338 by mike62
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FairTrail,
If she is still living in the former marital home and it is an asset of the marriage, then in short, yes. It depends at what stage the financial aspect of the divorce is at, but if she were to re-marry or cohabit for more than 6 months, that could trigger the sale of the property to allow both of them to realise the asset value of the house. She / You could also buy his share out.
Mike

  • Josh2008
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09 Jan 08 #10339 by Josh2008
Reply from Josh2008
When children are involved the courts will decide priority as to housing needs, the law regarding it is section 25 of the matrimonial causes act 1973 (MCA 1973).

If you both decide to live together and you admit that in any Consent Order then effectively the court can take into account your ability to maintain both your girlfriend and the child, if it appears to the court that you and your girlfriend can reasonably be expected to find alternative accommodation then it could force the sale of the former matrimonial home (FMH)

What you need to try and understand from the view of the husband of your girlfriend is that he might well feel that not only is he having to continue possible spousal maintenance and child support, but he will also be supporting in some way his wife’s new live in partner, whilst he himself is trying to accommodate his own needs.

It is not as clear cut as the MCA 1973, but in all probability from the information you have provided a Judge if pushed would most likely want to see a ‘Clean Break’ and especially if another income is introduced prior to or soon after the absolute.

Hope this helps, take a good look at the MCA 1973, section 25 being the important factors to take into account.

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10 Jan 08 #10353 by fairtrial
Reply from fairtrial
Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. Another question that comes to mind is what exactly constitutes living together. Am I correct in thinking that it is spending more than 3 concecative nights together. Also as regards the 6 months does that have to be consecative? i.e if we live together for 5 months then I move away for a month and then come back.

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10 Jan 08 #10373 by Josh2008
Reply from Josh2008
If the husband were to pursue the matter through the courts and indeed if the wife were to challenge it, and if the husband could prove you were cohabiting, (Bills in your name etc.)Then the courts could decide that the FMH be sold based on a needs basis.

As previously stated the needs of any children come first, then the needs of both spouses independently.

Let's say that you are currently not cohabiting and your GF pursues the courts for consent to live in the FMH until the child becomes 18 (typical scenario), the courts decision is heavily weighted towards your GF remaining in the FMH until such time as the child turns 18.

The problem that arises when cohabiting is that you are introducing a further element of funding and if you continued to cohabit for let's say six months (length of time is irrelevant) then it is highly likely that you will both continue to live together

The husband could go back to the courts for a review and in this situation the courts may well find that you and your GF have the means to support yourselves and the child and not to have to rely on the former husband (his share in the FMH), also if the H is funding spousal maintenance, that could stop, but child maintenance generally does not

When submitting a Consent Order each spouse has to state whether or not they intend to cohabit or remarry and each spouse has to be honest about it, if they state no and it is found out later that they were lying the courts can overturn the consent order.

This case is particularly grey, because it appears that both H and W intend to cohabit or are currently doing so, and presumably both able to fund separate lives, as stated the weight will err on the needs of the child as to ongoing rights in the FMH, but it is by no means clear cut when additional factors like cohabitation and especially when both intend to or are doing so, are introduced

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