Divorce Settlement and Inheritance

In the case of Critchell v. Critchell the Judge considered whether the Husband’s inheritance invalidated the terms of the Consent Order, given it had been received so soon after it had been made.

The Husband and Wife separated.

The Husband vacated the marital home, leaving the Wife remaining there with their two children.

The Husband purchased himself a home using the sum of £85,000.00 that he borrowed from his father. The Husband also took on a mortgage of £63,000.00.

The parties agreed the division of the assets and the settlement was documented within a Consent Order.

The settlement provided for the marital home to be transferred into the Wife’s sole name, subject to the mortgage, which she agreed to take responsibility. The Husband was to receive a charge for a lump sum equal to 45% of the net sale proceeds of the property, which was to be realised on a triggering event.

Within a month of the Consent Order being made, the Husband’s father died and the Husband received an inheritance.

The Wife appealed against the Consent Order, stating that the inheritance was a “Barder” event, which invalidated the basis on which the Consent Order was made.

The Wife was allowed the appeal.

The Court considered whether the Husband’s inheritance invalidated the Order.

The Husband has received £180,000.00, but had to pay a liability of £85,000.00.

The Court considered that in view of the fact the terms of the Consent Order was based on need and the Husband no longer had a need, he no longer needed a share in the marital home.

In view of this, the Judge allowed the Wife’s appeal and varied the Consent Order, to remove the Husband’s charge.

The Husband appealed, arguing his inheritance should not change the agreement.

The Husband argued that the object of the Consent Order had been to meet the Wife’s needs and this had not been changed by his inheritance.

The appeal was dismissed.

The Court held that the Judge had not erred in finding the death of the Husband’s father and the Husband’s inheritance had invalidated the Consent Order.

The Judge had been correct in having analysed the Consent Order.

The impact of the inheritance being received so soon after the Consent Order meant that the Husband no longer needed his interest in the marital home, given his debt could be paid using the inheritance.

Therefore, this represented a change upon which the Consent Order had been made.

This is because there had been a fundamental change in the needs for which provision had to be made.

The Judge therefore considered the original Consent Order made by consent to be inappropriate.

Divorce Settlement and Inheritance.

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