You and the Law 19th July 2011

Keeping sum back

I recently got divorced after a 25-year marriage and we are currently
sorting out financial arrangements.  We have each signed forms declaring our financial positions, but my ex-wife has failed to give details of an
index-linked pension she is due to receive from a large firm she worked for
in the 1990s.  She says she has no pension: surely this is contempt of court?How can I find out how much the pension is worth?  AH

You should ask your solicitor to request details of the pension from his
opposite number, or failing that, from your ex-wife.  If a financial provision application has been commenced, your solicitor can ask the court to require her to produce the information, which it would certainly do if she has failed to include it on her form.  Deliberately withholding financial details from the court, once ordered, could amount to contempt as you say, ultimately punishable by imprisonment.  But it’s unlikely to come to that.

Sharing house

Twenty years ago we bought a property with my mother: we have the main
house and she has the bungalow.  How will we stand when my mother dies and we have to move out?  How will the property be divided up, in as much as we have maintained and insured both properties over the years?  TB

It depends how you bought the property in the first place.  If you own it
as beneficial joint tenants the property would become yours on the death of
your mother.  If you own the property as tenants in common, however, it will be divided up in whatever shares were determined at the time. If the property is divided in this way then it would obviously be something
your mother could leave you in her will.  If she left her share to someone
else you could be in difficulty.  The information will either be on your
title deeds, or, assuming your house is registered, will appear on the
register at the Land Registry.

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