FAQ

Can my spouse force me to sell the house after we separate?

No they cannot unless a Court should subsequently order the property to be sold. The law takes into account many factors when deciding what should happen to family assets and it is possible that a sale can be avoided.

Can I protect the assets that I have accumulated when I marry?

Yes you can. The law recognises Pre-Nuptial agreements, which are financial agreements entered into in contemplation of marriage, as long as certain legal aspects are complied with.

Can I claim a share in my partner’s property?

The law relating to cohabiting couples is very different from the law relating to married couples. There are limited circumstances in which you can gain an interest in a property that is not in your name.

Can I get a “quickie” divorce?

A quickie divorce is simply a divorce that is not defended by the other party. There is one ground for divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This is established by proving one of five facts. As long as you can establish that fact, you have grounds to issue a petition. If the divorce is not defended, usually a final decree can be obtained in 4 months and no Court attendance is required.

Can I change my child’s surname?

You may only change your child’s surname with the father’s written consent or an order of the Court.

What documents do I need to look for before the funeral?

It desirable to find the following documents before the funeral but the funeral can go ahead even if you do not find them:

  • The most recent will of the person who has died, or a copy of it.
  • Any note saying what kind of funeral the person wanted.
  • Papers relating to life insurance or pension arrangements.

A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.

What documents do I need to find before registering the death?

The following papers contain information needed for registering the death:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Marriage or civil partnership certificate.
  • Death certificate of former wife, husband or civil partner.
  • State pension or allowance book.
  • Passport.

Even if you cannot find these papers, you can register the death if you have all the necessary information.

A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.

What documents do I need to find after someone has died?

If the person who has died was living alone in a private home, someone should go to the home on the day of the death to look for papers relating to insurance of the person’s home and its contents, preferably the home and contents policy itself. (See the section on insurance.)

If you believe that the person who has died wanted to donate organs for transplant or to donate his or her body for medical research, also look for:

  • Buildings insurance policy details;
  • An organ donor card;
  • A consent form.

A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.

How do I pay for the deceased’s bills?

Bank accounts and other assets in the sole name of the person who has died are usually “frozen” from the death until the personal representatives obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration. If the person who has died paid household bills, then the other members of the household may be worried about how to manage between the death and the grant. There are various ways of dealing with this problem, for example:

  • If a member of the household had a joint account with the person who has died, that account can be used to pay bills. See the section on joint accounts.
  • It may be possible to borrow from a family member or from the bank.
  • If the person who has died had life insurance or was a member of a pension scheme, a lump sum may be payable soon after the death.

It is a good idea to contact a solicitor or the CAB for advice on the different options.

A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.

What happens is I have a joint account with someone who has died?

If a person is a joint owner of a bank or building society account with the person who has died, then from the time of the death the joint holder automatically owns the money in the account. The account is not “frozen” after the death and they do not need a grant of probate or any authority from the personal representatives to access it. You should, however, tell the bank about the death of the other account holder.

A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.