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I’m getting divorced: Can my wife buy my share of our matrimonial home?

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Q. My wife and I are separating and she is keen to keep our former matrimonial home. We don’t have a mortgage on the property so I have agreed that I will transfer it to her if she pays me 50 per cent of its value.

My wife’s parents are going to give her the money needed to buy my share of the property, but we can’t agree how much it’s worth. My wife estimates it to be worth £275,000 but I believe that it is closer to £350,000. How can we resolve this?

A. The best way to settle this type of dispute is for your solicitors to jointly instruct a chartered surveyor to value your property. You would need to agree to appoint an independent chartered surveyor who shouldn’t have valued the property previously or be personally known to either of you.

The understanding should be that you and your wife will accept the open market value provided by the specialist. The figure required to buy your share of the property would be 50 per cent of the value stated in the report.

If either of you doesn’t accept the value stated then you would need to issue court proceedings to resolve your dispute, which must be made as a separate application after divorce proceedings have been issued.

The court would then appoint a second independent chartered surveyor and you and your wife would be bound to accept their opinion. If your wife didn’t wish to pay a sum equivalent to half of the valuation, or you didn’t accept the figure offered, then it would be necessary for the property to be placed on the open market for sale.

Court proceedings could be avoided by agreeing to be bound by the first survey and accepting 50 per cent of the valuation figure.

Once reached, the agreement must be recorded in a court order to ensure that it’s legally binding and no further financial claims can be made between you.

For more information on dividing the family home or for advice on any family law matter, contact Janine Hutson on 01772 258321


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