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Any rights on a property will depend on how the property is owned and if it is in joint names. If you own the property (wholly or jointly) with your partner, or with a mortgage, you will still own it whether you actually live there or not. Difficulties can arise if the house is in the sole name of your spouse or partner but you can take formal steps to protect your interest in it.
Property rights can also be affected by any prenuptial or cohabitation agreements drawn up when you first obtained the property. If you are married you have a right of occupation, this stands whether or not your name is on the deeds. You have the right to live there and not to be expelled from the property e.g. by your partner changing the locks.
If you are married and have children living with you, you may be able to secure the right to live in the property until the children have left school. You should take legal advice straight away if your partner is trying to force you out of the property.
There are often numerous options available to help resolve financial difficulties upon divorce. (The Court has a wide range of powers to help determine financial settlements). It is often possible to reach agreement without needing to resort to Court proceedings and we can help you to negotiate an appropriate financial settlement. We can help guide you through this process.
Whether or not you have already made a Will, when you are separating or divorcing you must consider what would happen if you were to die. An existing Will may be challenged on your death if you do not do something to up-date your wishes in the light of your divorce. If you have no will, the State will decide what must happen to your assets under the Laws of Intestacy.
It is not simply the case that everything goes to your spouse. It is certainly not the case that everything goes to your children if you still have a spouse (for example if you only separated, or the divorce is not yet absolute) who is living at the time of your death. These laws are not flexible, and it can take a very long time to deal with all your affairs.
For example, when you are separating or going through divorce, you might not feel that you want your house or your savings to go to your estranged spouse. You may prefer the children to receive your assets, either in trust if they are minors, or absolutely if they are an adult.
Find out more about making a Will from our team of specialists at Crombie Wilkinson. You can read about making a Will on our website by clicking here.
If you can’t find the information you need or have decided you want a divorce, please contact a member of our family law team. Alternatively, telephone our office closest to you to arrange an appointment to come in and see one of our specialist family lawyers.