Logo

Comment: A War of the Roses? The challenges of dealing with property and divorce

PUBLISHED: 12:34 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:00 27 April 2018

Divorce can lead to a raft of property related issues

Divorce can lead to a raft of property related issues

This content is subject to copyright.

Trevor Abrahmsohn, MD at north London agents Glentree, writes about his encounters with divorcing couples selling the marital home

Of the three ‘D’s’ (death, divorce and debt) divorce can be, in certain circumstances, the most painful (for some) since the consequences from it can linger endlessly and remorselessly, for many years or decades.

In the 42 years that I have presided over the residential agency business, I have encountered thousands of divorce cases, some of which are so ridiculous as to be comical.

In one such recent case, Glentree was asked to find a tenant for the marital home and found that the wife of the divorcing couple gazumped a prospective tenant in order to ‘get back’ at the husband. She then refused to move out of the house, when contracts for another party had been signed.

It is a fact that when the rumblings of marital disharmony become a rupture, after contacting the ‘rottweiler’ divorce lawyer, the estate agent is then a very close second, since the prime residential property is invariably one of the largest family assets, which needs to be sold.

Unfortunately, pettiness in these circumstances becomes an obsession where parties can ‘lock horns’ over the most trivial family heirloom, which is often of no significant value. Problems arise when the matrimonial property is ‘stripped bare’ of even the most rudimentary items i.e. toilet roll holders, which is understandably irritating to the incoming buyer of the home.

As agents, we have to be so careful. If, for instance, the wife contacts us we may become inadvertently ‘persona non grata’ to the husband and vice versa. Where the relationship becomes fractious, any advisor to the one party is the sworn enemy of the other. It is seldom that we are able to act for both parties.

The matrimonial lawyers often exacerbate the ‘jousting’ process between parties and it can become a ‘battle of the titans.’ Often one party or another wants to exaggerate the value of the property and this gives us a herculean problem as to managing their expectations.

In one particular case, at a strategic meeting to try to buy a property, in the boardroom of our offices, the temperature between the husband and wife became so intense, that instead of trying to buy a new home they instead, decided to ‘throw in the towel’ and get divorced.

Some of our clients consume hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions, in the matrimonial legal proceedings and they can be in and out of court with every ‘twist and turn’ of this tortuous process.

Custody of the children and parental access is a huge problem since it involves communication between the parties, which is difficult when they are ‘warring factions’.

Since the matrimonial laws in the UK have changed, we are finding more and more parties willing to use the divorce courts in this country, rather than elsewhere in the world, if one or other party is of international origin.

Often the husband is advised to remain in the property until the settlement is reached, which exacerbates the emotional turmoil and sadly, the children become the inadvertent victims of this unfortunate, domestic, scene, which is a great pity.

Informally, we try and counsel the parties to try to reach an equitable settlement without lawyers, but this is very difficult and often we can be caught in the crossfire.

I very much believe in the institution of marriage, having been a ‘fully paid up member’ for over 40 years myself, but sadly, statistics tell us that the majority these unions fail.

Although we are very reluctant to act in these circumstances if there is no other solution, and it is a job that needs doing, we will certainly do our bit.

I’m looking forward to watching the six episodes of the BBC’s new drama, ‘The Split’ and maybe some of the domestic scenarios will be familiar to me... Who knows?

glentree.co.uk

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

Seven tips for creating a wellbeing boosting garden

Matt Keightley, the designer behind the Feel Good Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, reveals how to make your own outdoor space more soothing. By Hannah Stephenson

Nine ways gardeners can be more waterwise this summer

Want to save your plants and save water? Go easy with the sprinkler and embrace these expert suggestions instead, says Hannah Stephenson

For sale: New show homes open at Highgate development

Two new show apartments have opened at a luxury development in Highgate.

Elegant cottage formerly home to renowned poet, A.E Housman, now for sale in Highgate Village

A cottage in Highgate Village where the renowned poet A.E Housman once lived is now available to buy.

Comment: A War of the Roses? The challenges of dealing with property and divorce

Trevor Abrahmsohn, MD at north London agents Glentree, writes about his encounters with divorcing couples selling the marital home

Home of the week: Handsome 5 bedroom property in Hampstead perfect for a family

On the market for the first time in many years is this attractive, substantial detached double fronted family house located in a prime location.

Fancy owning a Picasso? It’s not impossible says Belsize Village gallery owner

Emma Rice talks to Andrea Sylvester about art and how we could all potentially own a Picasso or a Chagall, if that’s what we love

Callender Howorth interior designers transform Grade II-listed home in Hampstead

Mark Howorth, the founder of luxury interior design firm Callender Howorth, tells us how he brought elegant Indian influences to a period property on NW3’s Heath Drive

Primrose Hill artist Michal Cole on transforming her paintings into woven masterpieces

“It’s actually bringing these paintings back into what they used to be in the Renaissance times – as tapestries.”

Home improvements: How to make a rustic hanging rail

Fancy getting stuck into a creative project? Try your hand at woodworking and hang your coats on this minimalist marvel.

Home of the Week: Handsome four-bedroom Victorian terrace in Dartmouth Park

An attractive four-storey Victorian family home on the upper slopes of peaceful Dartmouth Park

King’s Cross area guide: shopping, culture, eating out and the station

Your guide to all the things to do in King’s Cross, including the best shops, cafes, pubs and schools. Plus our guide to property in N1C

Three properties for sale in King’s Cross

Here are three properties you can buy in King’s Croos, from new builds to conversions

1930s garage transformed into 10 luxury apartments in Belsize Village

A Belsize Village car repair and parking depot dating back to the 1930s has been transformed into a luxury apartment development.

Escape to the garden: Primrose Hill home gets a new luxury retreat

Chalk farm engineer and treehouse specialist talks about co-designing a new Escape Pod that can sit at the bottom of your garden

Home of the week: Room for all your earthly possesions in sought-after Hampstead enclave

An accommodating and beautifully presented, five-bedroom family house, set in the desirable South Hill Park Conservation Area.

Gardens: How best to stock your pond with fish

From picking suitable species to ensuring your pond is safe, Hannah Stephenson runs through some key points to consider before you start.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2018 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant

$render.recurse($ctx, '$content.code.value')