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Three months ago my husband and I divorced and, just before I received the final Decree, John and I came to an agreement in relation to our finances. We were not particularly well off, having some equity in our home and two children and my Solicitor told me that the best way forward would be for me to keep the property but give John the right to force me to sell if when our youngest child leaves school, at which point I have to give him a proportion of the proceeds of sale of the house.
I could see the sense of this at the time, but very suddenly my husband’s father has just died, leaving him a significant inheritance. As a result of this, John can now go and buy himself a home without any difficulty, whereas when our youngest child leaves school I will not be left with sufficient to buy myself a property.
Is there anything I can do?
Yes, there is.
The death of your former husband’s father could be seen by the Court to be a “Barder event”.
This is a new event which might invalidate an original order, one which occurs a short time after the original order was made and the right to invite the Court to reconsider the position should not prejudice the rights of any third party.
In your case, I think a Court may very well be very sympathetic to your situation. As you know, under the Matrimonial Causes Act the Court has to consider very seriously, and as a priority, both parties’ foreseeable needs and the way in which your former husband can address his foreseeable needs has now changed exponentially. He can house himself without difficulty and without the need to take money out of your property.
I would therefore get legal advice urgently with a view to going back to the Court and asking for the reversal of the order which gives your husband the right to take a slice of the equity in the family home when you come to sell it.
You should refer your Solicitor to the case of Critchell -v- Critchell (2015) EWCA CIV436.