You and the Law – March 24th, 2009

Minimal input

After 10 years of marriage my husband and I have decided to separate. We have two small children. I bought the house when I was single, and the deeds are in my name only. My husband has never worked and never contributed to any costs of living while we¹ve been married. What will my husband be entitled to when I sell the house in the next 12 months? DH

IF the children are going to live with you then a court might allow you to remain in the house until they’re 17. Your husband might therefore be prepared to accept a smaller share of the family assets if you were to
offer him something now, rather than making him wait until the children leave home. If you sell the house now you will lose this bargaining chip.

A court would take into account your husband’s lack of financial contribution to the marriage, but it will be just one of many considerations. The fact that the deeds are in your name only may count for little.

Ten years is a long marriage by today’s standards and he will almost certainly be entitled to something, but you will need a solicitor’s help to work out the details.

Major Blow

Some slates were blown off my roof, and others dislodged, in recent high winds. An outbuilding was also damaged. But while the insurers accepted my claim for the outbuilding, they refused to pay out for the roof, saying it was in poor condition. I asked the met office for a weather report on the day in question, but they quoted over £200. What do I do next? SP

IF you think your roof is in a generally sound condition you may need to bring in an independent surveyor to draw up a report to that effect. Check your policy carefully. It’s possible that, if your insurance company accepts the report, they will pay the surveyor’s bill.

However you will also find in the policy document words to the effect that your insurance does not cover you for the cost of gradual deterioration, and that it is not a maintenance contract.

If you need a new roof don’t throw good money after bad.

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