Divorced wife prevents family home from being sold

A divorced wife has prevented her ex-husband from selling the family home until their daughter has finished her education.

The couple’s marriage broke down after 25 years together, and the husband’s business had gone into liquidation.

The husband issued an application under the Family Procedure Rules 2010 for an interim order for the sale of the property. The wife agreed the house would need to be sold but wished to remain living there for another 18 months to allow her daughter to complete her education at the local school.

The judge granted the interim order, concluding that there was good reason to sell the home.

The wife appealed on the basis that the judge had no jurisdiction to terminate her rights of occupation of the home under the 2010 Rules.

She claimed it was well established that an order for sale could not be made as an interim measure during financial remedy proceedings.

The 2010 Rules regulated the procedure of the court and could not extend the court’s jurisdiction. There was no freestanding power to make an interim order for the sale of the home.

The Court of Appeal concluded that the judge had reached the wrong decision. There was no proper application before him on which he could make an interim order for the sale of the former matrimonial home. The order was set aside.

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Case featured:

Divorced wife prevents family home from being sold
[2018] EWFC 11
WS v HS (2018)
Fam Ct (Cobb J) 28/02/2018

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