Always ensure a Court Order in your favour is carried out

Paul represented Mrs X in a case which could have been avoided had his client taken the right steps to protect her property.

When Mr and Mrs X divorced nearly 10 years previously, an ‘Ancillary Relief’ order was made that Mr X should transfer his share in the matrimonial home to Mrs X. Mr X didn’t do so and Mrs X didn’t pursue the matter.

However, in 2017 Mrs X received notice of an Interim Charging Order (“ICO”), a secured charge or debt, against ‘her’ house.

She was told that her ex-husband and his new wife had been charged with fraud, and had run up legal bills of over £30,000 with their solicitors, who had got judgment in default because they didn’t defend the claim. The solicitors then discovered Mr X was still on the deeds for the house.

Mrs X immediately contacted the solicitors and sent them a copy of the Court Order from 2008 and a hearing was arranged.

Mr X attended this hearing and told the court that his mother had, by a happy coincidence, contributed over £30,000 to the purchase of the house and that he (Mr X) was therefore entitled to a share of the house which should be sold to pay his judgment debt to his solicitors.

A hearing was held in August to determine whether the ICO should be made final and it was at this point that Paul was instructed for Mrs X.

The Court found that Mr X did not have any interest in the house; there was no evidence at all of a loan from his mother, and that, in any event, had there been, that would give his mother, not him, a share.

The Court discharged the Interim Charging Order and encouraged Mrs X to get the Title of the house transferred. However, the Court refused to order Mr X’s Solicitors to pay Mrs X’s costs of £5,000 (they’d done nothing wrong), and an order against Mr X would have been worthless.

The lesson of this story is – a Court Order often isn’t the end of the line, but is just a step to your final destination! So if you get an order in your favour, make sure you take immediate steps to protect your position. Mrs X didn’t and it cost her over £5,000 and eight months of stress.