By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q: My wife and I separated two years ago. I am currently going through divorce proceedings. She is living in our property and refusing to sell it. We do not have any children. I need to sell it as I need a deposit to purchase a new property. Could you advise what I need to do as I want to move on and not have ties anymore?
A: If you and your wife cannot reach a financial agreement through discussion, you should first consider attending mediation. This is a way in which you can talk to your wife in the presence of an independent professional called a mediator.
The mediator will attempt to resolve the dispute through discussion to avoid the need of going to court. However, if mediation fails, you can ask the court to decide by applying for a financial order.
There are a wide range of orders you can apply for, and a divorce solicitor will be able to give you specific advice with regard to the application for financial order.
The process is separate from the actual divorce proceedings and will normally take longer to conclude.
You may have to attend a number of court hearings. The judge will consider a number of issues on deciding how the assets should be divided if you cannot do it through agreement.
These will include how long you have been married, your ages, ability to earn, property and money, living expenses etc. The judge will then decide the fairest way to divide the assets.
In a lot of cases the judge will also incorporate a 'clean break' provision into any order made so that neither party can make a financial claim against the other in the future.
If you do hopefully manage to reach agreement without applying to the court for a financial order, you should still get a solicitor to draft a 'consent order' to make the agreement legally binding.
The document will be approved by the judge only if they think it is fair and reasonable. You will not be required to attend court for this part of the process.