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Old 27.10.2020, 11:23
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Divorce question please

My partner and his ex wife divorced in Switzerland by mutual consent. They have a divorce contract outlining all the terms. The document has been approved by the court/judge and divorce granted. Part of the agreement was to transfer 2 properties owned in UK from his name to hers. Because of CGT etc they agreed that this could happen when she decided to sell either property. They are both liable for the cost of any taxes to be split 50/50.

My partner and I now want to get married (his divorce was 4 years ago). However, his ex wife has said that the court judgement does not stand as the transfer of UK property has not happened and that he would be a bigamist... She does not want to sell either property to pay her share of the tax... Where does this leave him? Surely the court document is valid or is it dependent on this clause being fulfilled, despite their previous “agreement”?
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Old 27.10.2020, 11:48
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Re: Divorce question please

The divorce is finalised. She can sue for breach of contract but they are not married.

She might struggle if they have a signed document for their avoiding of CGT. She might struggle anyway as it seems verbally agreed.

I would invite her to the wedding for shits and giggles. Actually scrub that, she might come and kick off.
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Old 27.10.2020, 12:30
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Re: Divorce question please

Of course, the divorce is final.

The dispute over the property all depends on what you mean by 'they agreed not to transfer until she sold'

Agreed in a written contract or 'had a chat' ?

Assuming a contract exists then they both just have to stick to it or renegotiate. (btw imho.. should never have left anything that important 'hanging'.. should have bitten the bullet years ago (as I did))
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Old 27.10.2020, 12:37
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Re: Divorce question please

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They have a divorce contract outlining all the terms. The document has been approved by the court/judge and divorce granted.
Have you seen this document? And any other contracts they may have made between them, about selling the properties? Have you read and understood it/them?

I'd advise this.
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Old 27.10.2020, 12:38
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Re: Divorce question please

So she thinks that the divorce has happened because the transfer of the UK property hasn't happened?
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Old 27.10.2020, 12:46
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Re: Divorce question please

If he has a decree absolute then he is divorced!
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Old 27.10.2020, 14:28
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So she thinks that the divorce has happened because the transfer of the UK property hasn't happened?
This is about it yes. She says they’re still married..

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If he has a decree absolute then he is divorced!
In UK this is the case, not sure re Swiss divorce whether it’s the same thing

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Have you seen this document? And any other contracts they may have made between them, about selling the properties? Have you read and understood it/them?

I'd advise this.
Have seen the document - the clause is unclear as to when this has to happen

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Of course, the divorce is final.

The dispute over the property all depends on what you mean by 'they agreed not to transfer until she sold'

Agreed in a written contract or 'had a chat' ?

Assuming a contract exists then they both just have to stick to it or renegotiate. (btw imho.. should never have left anything that important 'hanging'.. should have bitten the bullet years ago (as I did))
This was agreed between them verbally at the time as the transfer of property in UK wasn’t important at that time. Now he wants to remarry she is making an issue of it - even though she is liable to 50% of tax

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The divorce is finalised. She can sue for breach of contract but they are not married.

She might struggle if they have a signed document for their avoiding of CGT. She might struggle anyway as it seems verbally agreed.

I would invite her to the wedding for shits and giggles. Actually scrub that, she might come and kick off.
So the divorce is finalised event though one of the “terms” hasn’t been finalised?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 28.10.2020 at 21:50. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 27.10.2020, 14:37
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Re: Divorce question please

Your partner has an official document called Scheidungsurteil with a wax stamp on the back page?

It is done. End of.
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Old 27.10.2020, 14:39
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Re: Divorce question please

The divorce is granted by the court, it is not something that can be invalidated by a contract.

In the same way as breaching a prenuptial agreement doesn't invalidate a marriage, it is simply not a question of contract law.

In any case I also don't see any breach of contract - your partner is still willing to transfer the properties, the ball is in the ex-wife's court to request that when she needs it.
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Old 27.10.2020, 17:39
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Re: Divorce question please

They got divorced in Switzerland? I can promise you, the Swiss wouldn't let him re-marry if he wasn't registered as divorced here!
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Old 27.10.2020, 17:41
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Re: Divorce question please

OP's husband setting himself for the next divorce
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Old 27.10.2020, 18:48
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Re: Divorce question please

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They got divorced in Switzerland? I can promise you, the Swiss wouldn't let him re-marry if he wasn't registered as divorced here!
From the OP
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My partner and his ex wife divorced in Switzerland by mutual consent.
Emphasis added.
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Old 27.10.2020, 20:48
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Re: Divorce question please

And then I thought. Well, voluntarily having two mother's in law? That's very big of me.
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Old 28.10.2020, 01:56
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Re: Divorce question please

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So she thinks that the divorce has happened because the transfer of the UK property hasn't happened?

So she thinks that the divorce has NOT happened because the transfer of the UK property hasn't happened.


The UK capital gains tax can be complicated and will depend on the marital status when the transfer occurred. Quite when that transfer occurred seems to be open. Just because no sale has taken place doesn't necessarily mean a transfer hasn't taken place but I think it's irrelevant to whether he's divorced or not.


Say the house is worth 500k at the time of the divorce. Then a year later it's sold for 700k. How would the CGT work? Would the ex-husband pay on the 500 or 700?



There are potential complications if the OP marries him. If there are "what's mine is yours" agreements what bearing does that have on the UK properties? Are they the ex-wife's or still 50-50 owned?
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Old 28.10.2020, 03:04
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Re: Divorce question please

The likely CGT liability may be calculated based on the difference between the sale price and original purchase price if purchased on or after 06.04.2015. Allowances for previous owner-occupation have recently changed.

If bought on or before 05.04.2015 then the seller(s) have the opportunity to conduct an RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) CGT Valuation as of 05.04.2015 and then that value difference from the sale price can be the basis of CGT liability subject to HMRC approval. (as a guide a flat will cost around £400+VAT to survey, a house more, depending on size, value, location, condition etc)

I assume there are no cladding complications with the properties, otherwise this may need to be resolved for a future buyer to qualify for a mortgage following recent revisions to the Building Regulations as a result of Grenfell.

As in Switzerland, a CGT return must now be filed within 30 days of sale completion with HMRC. Registering online with gov.uk is not trivial without a UK address with UK credit history and/or a UK Passport. (the service is still in Beta even though the new law is in effect since 06.04.2020). Penalties may be levied by HMRC if submitted late. Submission as part of Self-Assessment the following January is passé.

Given the wealth tax implications in Switzerland, has the ex-wife been reporting the Verkehrswert of her share of the UK Properties on her Swiss wealth tax return since the Divorce? If so, based on what value?

If not she may need to consider her Swiss tax compliance position and seek professional advice.

Finally any beneficial or ownership interest she has (legally or equitably or both) might ideally have been entered also as a restriction and/or covenant with the Land Registry responsible for the location of the properties to accurately reflect the changed ownership status post-Divorce.

When the property interests were shared, were any liabilities (mortgages, council tax, etc) shared accordingly also?

It might be less burdensome for all concerned to come to a local financial arrangement/settlement taking into account all of the circumstances. Otherwise the engagement of a UK Lawyer/Conveyancer, and UK Accountant, and UK Surveyor and Swiss tax advisor and potentially Swiss Lawyer should be considered.

In summary, contingent liabilities are best avoided. Procrastination rarely pays. Professional advice is recommended.

PS if the properties are rented out to tenants, there are additional Regulations in effect in 2020 that all purportive Owners/Landlords/Landladies may be subject to.

If her name is not on the original tenancies, this may require amendments to such Tenancy Agreements etc. (also a non-UK based Landlord/Landlady will likely need an Agent in England & Wales for address for service purposes eg Notices, Summons etc).

Non-freehold properties/flats will likely require additional efforts with the management of the Leasehold reversion interest in a statutory lease extension scenario, registration with the Freeholder, and the Management Company responsible for the common areas etc.

Insurers for the buildings likely expect to be fully aware of all Parties with an ownership or other beneficial interest in the properties concerned to be declared to avoid a Policy being potentially voidable in an adverse claim scenario. (Floods, subsidence etc happen)

There may be other issues I haven't covered above .....these are not trivial areas of UK law. No advice included above.

Last edited by magyir; 28.10.2020 at 03:35. Reason: detail
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Old 28.10.2020, 09:20
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Re: Divorce question please

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There are potential complications if the OP marries him. If there are "what's mine is yours" agreements what bearing does that have on the UK properties?
Nobody in their right mind does that here.

Well, at least not Swiss people.

Tom
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Old 28.10.2020, 13:04
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Re: Divorce question please

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Because of CGT etc they agreed that this could happen when she decided to sell either property.
This sounds like a very bad idea to me, a problem waiting to manifest itself. Given how OP phrases it the splitting will never happen if the ex never sells, and there's probably no way a sale (or payout in cash) can be forced. And even if she does sell, OP's significant other may have to chase the money if the ex decides to no longer cooperate, that would be far from the first such case.

In short, it turns the divorced marriage into a never-ending story that creates new dependencies, exactly the opposite of what a divorcee would usually want.
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Old 29.10.2020, 21:18
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Re: Divorce question please

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My partner and his ex wife divorced in Switzerland by mutual consent. They have a divorce contract outlining all the terms. The document has been approved by the court/judge and divorce granted. Part of the agreement was to transfer 2 properties owned in UK from his name to hers. Because of CGT etc they agreed that this could happen when she decided to sell either property. They are both liable for the cost of any taxes to be split 50/50.

My partner and I now want to get married (his divorce was 4 years ago). However, his ex wife has said that the court judgement does not stand as the transfer of UK property has not happened and that he would be a bigamist... She does not want to sell either property to pay her share of the tax... Where does this leave him? Surely the court document is valid or is it dependent on this clause being fulfilled, despite their previous “agreement”?
Why would you want to get married into such a messy situation that, from the sounds of your description, is likely to continue on for many years?

Why would your partner want to enter into a new marriage when he hasn't yet finished tidying up after the last one?

If I were in the position of your partner and truly wished to marry you, then I would move ahead with taking the necessary steps to clear up the baggage (including the transfer of the UK property) from my previous marriage, first. And only once everything were done and dusted, all the transfers made, all the paperwork signed, all the payments executed, and nothing further connected me to my ex-spouse, only then would I consider marrying again.

If I were in your position and truly wished to marry my partner, then I would set as a pre-condition to the marriage that he first settle all the matters pertaining to his previous marriage, before I would consider marrying him.

Perhaps the only exception to this stringency might be if one of you is in danger of deportation to a country in which you would be in mortal danger. In that case, entering into a marriage may help to be allowed to remain living in Switzerland.
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