Hubby's gone but should mum move in?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty looks at the legal issues of dividing the value of a property during a divorce settlement
Divorce settlement cartoon
© Merrily Harpur
Question: I’m getting divorced and want to stay in our home with my children. My husband wants the house sold so that he will have cash and can be released from the mortgage. My widowed mother has offered to sell her flat, pay him off, reduce my mortgage and move in with us. But is this a good idea?

Answer:} Speak to your solicitor and see if a sale can be avoided without your mother’s input, as the welfare of your children is always the law’s first concern.

If your solicitor says a sale is unavoidable, to be fair to your husband, do consider your mother’s very kind offer. However, it is vital that your mother takes independent legal advice to ensure that her investment will be protected.

Your mother could become a joint legal owner of the property with you and join in the mortgage, or she could have a deed that states that you hold the property on trust for the pair of you in clearly defined shares. Your lender will have to be informed and agree with your plan.

If you have brothers or sisters they should also be consulted. Your mother may want to make a new will to recognise the payment she makes to your husband, adjusting the shares that you and your siblings will receive in her estate.

Finally, consider whether the two of you can actually live together: it is going to be a huge change for you both.

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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the property team at Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons Solicitors

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