My mum has left my dad. She moved out of the family home and into a residential care home. She is not divorcing him but has moved out. Mum is using her two pensions to pay towards a care home. Dad is making up the rest. Mum is keeping her attendance allowance. Now she has started court proceedings seeking to force dad to buy an annuity to cover the care home costs and also, over the next 3 years pay her a series of lump sums amounting to half their combined assets. Mum is 91 Dad is 85. Can the court order my dad how to arrange his finances and, in the absence of a divorce, is mum entitled to half the assets?
Any thoughts on this please? Dad has to submit a position statement next week.
What kind of court action is proposed? Is it in the family court? Is your mum driving this?
If there is a legal separation, assets apart from pensions can be divided with a legally binding financial settlement.
Any settlement would have to take the housing needs of both parties into account. Your Dad needs a place to live but if his home is more than say 2 bedrooms, he would be considered overhoused.
There are very many things to take into account here, not least the state of health and age of both your parents and the value of the joint assets. Was this unilateral decision to relocate to a care home prompted by anything in particular? Would they rather be together in a suitable place?
His position statement needs to be concise and factual. It should address his housing and income needs and set out the impact of what is proposed in clear terms.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, it is in the Family Court.
Yes, my Mum is driving it (with help from a relative to whom she has given Power of Attorney).
My Mum made the decision unilaterally to leave my Dad and to go to the care home. It is near to my sister and 100 miles from my Dad. She had a place lined up at a different care home local to the family house last summer but changed her mind at the last minute.
Does there have to be a legal separation before (or at the same time as) a legally binding financial settlement decided by a Court? I mean is a legal separation a pre-requisite of an financial settlement being imposed on my father by the Court?
This is a pretty unusual case. It could be that any order is one pending final settlement - so yes, there could be an order before final settlement and even before any legal separation/petition for divorce.
A final financial order can only happen either after legal separation (not involving pensions) or after Decree Nisi.
As I said, your father's needs would also be taken into account in all of this. If you need help with a position statement and have not got a solicitor, you could get some help via one of our consultants maybe?
Hi, Thank you.
We have completed the paperwork the Judge requested for the First Appointment. When those documents are exchanged we will see what my mother is now seeking. Her original application was for the cost of the care home to paid. Dad signed a contract with the care home to do that before he even got notice of the court action! The question is whether Mum will seek to force him to buy an annuity (something my dad sees as offering very poor value given their ages) and if she will also pursue the lump sum payments on top of that. Mum's needs are being met and we are hoping that sense will reign but emotions are very high.