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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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FINANCIAL REMEDIES: M v S
Date:1 JUL 2013
Law Reporter

(Family Division, Coleridge J, 28 June 2013)

Following the marriage the husband and wife lived at the husband's parents' address. Several months later the wife moved into another property owned by the company and purchased by the father-in-law. The wife claimed this had been part of a plan for the couple to move in together while the husband claimed the wife moved while his parents were out of the country with no permission to do so.

When the wife petitioned for divorce she remained living in the property and sought financial relief. The father-in-law issued a notice to quit upon the wife and an OS v DS hearing took place to determine whether the husband had any interest in the property.

The husband, relying on documentary evidence claimed he had no interest in the property which had been purchased by his father prior to the relationship with his wife commencing. The wife claimed the husband had always told her it was his property and that it would be the matrimonial home. Evidence was also placed before the court in relation to the husband's medical conditions, high functioning Asperger's syndrome and depression.

The court found that the issues had to be determined in light of the husband's mental condition which may well have caused him to create the impression that he owned the property and that it would become the matrimonial home. That was part of his presentation and it was not unreasonable for the wife to believe him. The documentary evidence showed that the husband's father had purchased the property and there was nothing to suggest fraud or forgery. On the basis that the husband's father had always been the beneficial owner of the property, the wife's claim was struck out for having no prospect of success.