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Divorce FAQ – Part 4
Do we have to go to court to get the settlement approved?
You do not have to get a settlement approved by the court, but unless you get a consent order, either of you will be able to change your minds. To get any form of clean break, you must have a court order which is binding and enforceable. Where a consent order is submitted to Court, the Judge has discretion over whether or not to make the agreement into a binding and enforceable order.
Can I be forced to give up the home?
If there are no children, the aim is to reach a fair financial settlement. Whether you can retain the home will depend primarily on how many other assets you have between you and what your individual preferences are.
For example, if you have plenty of money, you might agree that one of you will keep the home but the other will receive a correspondingly large share of other assets. If your resources are more limited, you may need to agree to sell the home so that you can each buy a smaller property.
Where there are children the situation becomes more complex. The welfare of the children requires them to have a home where they can live with whichever parent will continue to look after them.
If you have plenty of assets, it might well be ideal if the children stay in the family home while the other parent buys another home to move into. If assets are less abundant, it might make sense to sell the family home so that two cheaper homes can be bought.
The problem becomes more difficult when assets are more limited. The children and the parent living with them may want a large proportion of the assets, leaving the other parent with very little. However, a court would be unlikely to consider a very one-sided agreement to be fair.
The Court has the power to defer a party’s interest in the family home until the occurrence of certain trigger events, including but not limited to:
- The youngest child of the family reaching the age of 18 or finishing full time secondary or tertiary education (to first degree level)
- The other party’s remarriage or cohabitation with a new partner.
- A sale or dealing of the property by the resident party.
If you have any queries regarding a matter similar to this, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team of family law solicitors in Exeter on 01392 207020.