As family lawyers, we are often confronted with the situation where a Client’s spouse is being obstructive and refusing to put their property on the market for sale. The family home is often the main asset and a sale is necessary to release capital to enable both parties to re-house themselves.
Delay in liquidating the assets can cause both financial and emotional hardship. In situations where one spouse is being obstructive, the following steps can be taken:-
- Apply to the Court for an Order for Sale. Usually the Court orders that both you and your spouse will have joint conduct of the sale to enable you both to agree which estate agents and conveyancing solicitors are to be appointed, the sale price and timescales.
- If one spouse refuses to cooperate, you can apply back to the Court for one spouse to have sole conduct, thus enabling the decisions regarding appointment of estate agents, sale price etc to be made by one spouse.
- If cooperation is still not forthcoming, a Judge can determine at what price a property should be sold and sign the conveyancing documents on behalf of the uncooperative spouse which will enable the sale to proceed.
- In some cases, the Judge can order the obstructive spouse to move out of the property and provide vacant possession, thereby removing any ability to preclude the sale.