Q: I am sure my ex-wife is refusing to settle the financial side of our divorce because she knows my father suffers ill health and she thinks if she hangs things out until he dies I will inherit from him and she will get a share. What can I do?
A: You can, and should, seek immediate legal advice with a view to forcing things ahead before your father dies.
The Court could take a potential inheritance into account when considering what Order to make regarding the financial settlement of your divorce. If your father dies before a financial settlement can be made and leaves you substantial assets, these would probably be taken into account. Whilst you could argue that receipt of the assets was post separation and should therefore be ring-fenced, there is no guarantee this argument would succeed and the Court have a duty to take into account all circumstances of the case.
Key factors taken into consideration by the Court when determining the financial outcomes of divorce include: the earning capacity, property and other financial resources of each party including any potential increase in future earning capacity; the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of each party, now and in the foreseeable future; the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage; the age of each party; the duration of the marriage and the contributions which each of the parties has made, or is likely in the foreseeable future to make, to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family.
If either party has any physical or mental disability that also will have a bearing on the Court’s decision. Finally the Court will take into consideration the conduct of each party if, in the Court’s opinion, it would be inequitable to disregard it.