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Legal Question: If John persists to sell the Cottage, what should Mary do and what legal problems may arise due to John’s decision.


Social Context: From the social point of view, John could have rent a single apartment in London and stay there rather than commuting every day. Mary, on the contrary, could have thought of John’s career and take the initiative to move with John to London and support him. The case does not say whether Mary works or not but she paid for half of the purchase price of the house, therefore her decision is as important as John’s.

On the other hand, since both are married, even though John has legal title to the Cottage, Mary has the right to survivalship. This means that if something happens to John, she is entitled to everything that belongs to John, including the Cottage.

If John wants to sell the Cottage and Mary moves with him and the children to London, there is no problem in their relationship. It is just traditionally and socially acceptable for family to stay together in sickness or in health. In addition, John wants to buy another house in London and live with Mary and their children.


The married couples always make decisions that are favorable for both and both agree. If a decision is such that it is only in favor of one not both then one must compromise to the decision. This fact is most important in securing the spousal relationship as well as keeping the family together.

In case of John and Marry, the decision to move to London is not bad as John has to travel every day for long hours and cover long distance, which is not feasible. Though Marry is happy in Fairview Cottage, Hambridge but she can choose to move to London for her husband and she might be happy there as well. In every relationship there is a need to compromise in various aspects, this conflict is causing problem for John & hence Mary should consider her husband’s dilemmas & try to arrange her life accordingly. There is no harm in moving with her husband since she can settle in London in due course along with her children. There is no harm in moving with her husband.


According to the current situation Marry can be advised that she has to reconsider her decision and compromise with her husband’s decision. Both will need to find out the cost of houses in London. And also estimate the cost of their current house. They can then set this into their budget.


Other option was that John can consider living on rent in London and weakly visit his family if Marry does not agree to shift.


Both can also decide to rent their current house and move towards London and get a house on rent at same rate. Later he can find a new job at Hambridge if he wants and shift back to their old house. They can also opt to buy a new small flat in London if they’ve enough funds and simultaneously rent their house on temporary basis. This can solve the conflict equally on both sides; therefore letting Mary keep the cottage in Hambridge & at the same time fulfils John’s wishes & makes it easier for him to commute.



In the current situation as both are married and divorce is not the solution both will compromise with each other in every decision they take in life. In the current situation the concern is for John and he’s facing problem in commuting every day. Now Marry must take a wise decision to shift with her husband and children to new locality for the time being. Because this is current need of her husband and both must compromise for their own happy life and for children’s sake.


One more advice can be given to the Marry that if they sell their house then she’ll have half of the sold price and will have equal part in the profit. When buying a new house she can share half of the cost as before and this time property can be named after both instead of one person. Property in the name of one person when both share the cost may create problem. As in this case, John intends to sell it when Marry wants to keep and is happy. Law gives them equal right over the sold price and Marry will be the owner of the half of the cost of the sold price. She can re-invest her money on buying a new property or they can simply rent their house.



Legal Context:


Married couples have equivalent rights on belongings although when the time of annulment or severance appear the approaches in which they will be isolating their properties only depend on their determination. Most of the time, social aspects are kept in view especially when considering relationships. Similarly if some one has decides to give all of his property to the other spouse he can do that, other than if he had made a decision to partition the property between them then they have to pursue legal laws for the division of possessions.


It is the observation that in most of the states the “common law” is preferred for making this kind of decisions; the law states that if the property is on the name of one of the spouse then he can make his own decision but considering the fact that when the property is on the name of both of the spouse then they have equal owner-ship in that property after their separation either.

However the community property states is different and complicated one it is applicable in states like Arizona, Idaho, California,  Nevada, Louisiana,  Texas, New Mexico, and Washington. This law states that marriage couples have to carve up property equally whether the property has been making by the efforts and earning of either husband or wife. While on the other hand the inherited stuff and goods of any of the spouse are considered as their alienated property. In the inherited land the other partner has no precise to ask for the splitting up of those belongings as inherited assets are well thought-out as the belongings belongs to only one of the spouse.

The commandment also obvious that the asset which is owned earlier than the matrimony is also the separate property and nonentity is solicited to divide that property after their divorce or separation. Similarly gifts are the separate property of couples which means that if the close relative of companion has given her any land or any of the asset at the time of their wedding ceremony as a endowment then it only belongs to her and her husband has no right on that asset (Married couples: who owns what?).

Now the query arises concerning the officially permitted joint owner ship of possessions, this is the case in which for the division of property it has to be transferred on the name of other person and from that time the property is owned by the partner on whose name it has been transferred. This separation is based on joint legal title 36 (2) of the Law of Property Act 1925 (Michael Harwood, 7 October, 2005).

A scrutiny financial credits which have possession by both of the married partners are the public property originally it was the estranged material goods but at a time when it is mixed with community property funds it is known as community property from that time and thus have a equal share (Married couples: who owns what?).

Marry can take advantage of the equal rights in property which spouse has bought after the marriage, according to Law this kind of property belongs to both of the spouse so Marry is advised to take her division from that property and she can buy new and a small house in a Fairview cottage in this way she can live at the place of her choice and can visit her husband whenever she wants to visit.



Legal rights:

Having the legal title to the property being conveyed into John’s sole name is quite a rush decision even though John and Mary are married. Since he has the legal rights to the Cottage, he can do whatever he wants to do with the Cottage and because he has the Absolute Title to the Cottage. This indicates that John is the only conditional owner of the Cottage and has the mere lien or incumbrance over the property (Francis, 1856). In other word, husband and wife have equal right to properties purchased during their relationship.

John may be registered with absolute title if the registrar believe that their “title to the estate is such that a willing buyer could properly be advised by a competent professional adviser to accept” (Cooke, 2003, 42). Similarly, John may be given the absolute title based on the advice, opinion and professional competence, which allows John to not only to possess the Cottage but also to receive rents and profits from the Cottage.

The case does not indicate who registers the Cottage and assume it is registered by John. However, section 59 of the real estate act divides individual register into three parts before indicating which one has the absolute title to the Cottage. For example, the act divides the property register, the proprietorship register, and the charges register and it describes the rights of each subject.

In this case, the property register describes the property, whether the property contains leasehold, and if there are any rights of benefits from the property. The proprietorship register gives the name of the registered owner, states the class of title he or she holds, and determines any restrictions on their power of disposition. Charges register, on the other hand, gives the unregistered interests. This classification allows parties to make claim should any dispute arisen.  However, having John to have the Absolute Title may indicate that John is considered as the registered of all.

This arrangement to give John the Absolute Title to the property may also be the result of undue influence, in which John may have dominated Mary during the deal or the contract. He may have deprived Mary to agree to have him to be the sole owner of the Cottage.

Since they are married, and the case does not indicate whether the purchase occurred prior to their marriage or after their marriage, undue influence may be difficult to prove. According to Smyth, Soberman, and Easson (2001), in cases of married couple, the degree of undue influence may arise when one spouse is experienced in business and has persuaded the other, who has little or no experience in business, to give half of the purchase price but give out her right to the property.

The most important factors in determining whether John had undue influence over Mary during the transaction or during their togetherness as husband and wife is by observing the degree of domination of John over Mary and the extent of the advantage he has over Mary.

On the contrary, there is matrimonial properties, which indicates that husband and wife have the right to use the property for a family purpose. This include items acquired by either one or both parties during their marriage or common-law relationship. Home or in this case the Cottage is classified as matrimonial property that can be shared by both parties, regardless one party ahs the absolute title or not.

Matrimonial law indicates that should a family property is sold, husband and wife have equal share on the proceeds of the house either the couple is separated or not.

Neither John nor Mary intends to separate. Therefore, the best solution may be to sell the Cottage and move to London or to have John to rend an apartment in London and goes home every weekend with the family. Mary & John should therefore compromise in at least one preposition that is most feasible for their family. The best option can be to either put up their Fairview cottage for rent while get an apartment in London. So that, both the individuals can be content & hence be fair regarding their decision.



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