Q: My husband has bullied me throughout our fifty-year marriage. Ten years ago, he insisted we sell our house and buy a two-bed bungalow. Before I knew what was happening, he had bought a bungalow for cash - in his name only and denied me access to the residual money. Then he got throat and stomach cancer. Miraculously he survived surgery but now cannot speak, is incontinent, and has to be peg fed. I am his sole carer. He writes me abusive messages, hits out at me and has turned our only child against me.
Now I have breast cancer and need radiotherapy. I just cannot cope. I want to leave him, or have him put in a home, but he says I can’t because I have nowhere to go, and the bungalow is his. Is there anything I can do?
A: When you are married, particularly for as long as you have been, you are automatically entitled to a share of your partner’s assets, including the property you live in together, even if your name is not on the deeds. Further, if you were to divorce him the court has the power to make an ‘order for sale’ over a property if one spouse wants to stay and the other wants to leave, though this is only likely in the event that the equity in the property is required in order to meet both parties’ housing needs.
It would however seem that you may also have reason for bringing a case against your husband for his coercive behaviour, something which is now a criminal offence.
Due to your current health problems, you are clearly in a very vulnerable position at this time. You should therefore seek advice as soon as possible from a law firm that can not only advise you on your rights in respect of divorce/marital assets but also on your husband’s coercive behaviour.
This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194