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What you must know about the Matrimonial Home

25.09.2018 / Kerstin Beyer

The most important thing to remember is that family courts in England are starting from the premise that they should divide matrimonial homes equally when a couple divorces. It is worth repeating this: the starting point is that Judges will divide the equity in the matrimonial home, ie the money that is in the property after deduction of the mortgage equally between the spouses.

Lord Nichols said in the case of Miller; McFarlane (2006) 1 FLR 1186 at 1194:

“The parties’ matrimonial home, even if it was brought into the marriage at the outset by one of the parties, usually has a central place in any marriage. So it should normally be treated as matrimonial property … As already noted, in principle the entitlement of each party to a share of the matrimonial property is the same however long or short the marriage may have been.”

Let’s take an example:

The husband inherits some money. In scenario 1 he buys a buy to let property with his inheritance. In scenario 2 the husband uses his inheritance to buy a bigger house in London for his family and the family moves into it so it becomes the parties’ matrimonial home.

Is the outcome going to be different in monetary terms? Yes, quite possibly.

So what should you do to protect your inheritance?

1) Keep your inheritance separately.

2) Do not mix your inheritance with matrimonial assets.

3) Do not use your inheritance to buy a house that will become the matrimonial home for the family.

4) If you do decide to mix your inheritance with matrimonial property and/or to purchase a home for your family with it then do a pre-nuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement before you do so.

Have we answered your questions? Please call us on 02079364644 to discuss your situation.

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