Family law problem question
Jack and Nick are builders and property developers. Jean is a trainee solicitor, married to Nick and Jack is a close friend of both Jean and Nick. In 2012, they decided to buy a house together. A large dilapidated house on the outskirts of Oxford, The Lees was for sale cheaply and the three of them signed the contract for the purchase and were then registered as joint legal owners of the house. Jean, who had just inherited a large sum of money from her wealthy aunt, contributed 50% of the purchase price; Jack and Nick each contributed 25%. However, Jacks fiance, Lucy lent him half of the money for his contribution, on condition that she could live there and because she thought that Jack was going to marry her.
Nick and Jean moved in at the time of the purchase. After a few months, Jean moved out as she wished to live in her deceased aunts luxurious home and considered The Lees an insalubrious dump. In the meantime, Nick and Jack have done considerable maintenance work on the house and Lucy, who is a horticulturalist, lay out and developed a beautiful garden. A new kitchen has been installed and the bathrooms have been modernised. These renovations have greatly improved the value of the house.
Jean did not have the time, interest or the skill to do any work on the house. A month ago, she realised that she no longer loved Nick and wished to end the marriage. Nick begged Jean to reconsider her decision – sending her daily e-mails and texts and bombarding her with flowers and messages on her answer phone. Last week, after a few drinks, he came round to Jeans house and sang loudly outside her window. Jean now wishes to remove Nick from The Lees and live there herself as she would much closer to her new job. She also wishes Nick to refrain from contacting her at all.
Lucy had moved into The Lees with Jack when the house was purchased. Lucy worked as a horticulturalist until she developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a year ago. She has now been classified as Disabled and when she has the energy works on the garden in The Lees. Her wealthy parents still support her. Three months ago, Jack, who has begun drinking heavily after losing his job, left Lucy and moved out of The Lees. During the past month, however, he called on Lucy every day, verbally abusing her, criticising her appearance and ordering her to get out of his house. He has even threatened to send photographs of her in the nude to the local paper so that everyone can compare her present appearance with that of four years ago.
Yesterday, Jack threw Lucy out of the house and she has gone to a womens refuge.
ADVISE LUCY AND JEAN.
NOTES that can help: In the question, you may assume that Nick and Jean married not long before they bought “The Lees.”
You may also assume that they are relatively young and starting off in their careers as Jean is a trainee solicitor.
AS well as:
a) you can assume the validity of marriage
b) you do not need to discuss financial and property distribution after divorce.