My dead husband's ex-wife wants his house


June 24, 2016

A notice was served last week on a woman to leave the matrimonial home she shared with her husband for 18 years.

She explained that her husband died from cancer in April and she buried him in May.

Shortly after the funeral, she said her husband's relatives told her she must move out of the house because her name was not on the title for the property.

"I told them that I was not moving out because, from the time we married, 18 years ago, that was where I have been living," she said.

"The relatives told me the house belonged to my husband and his ex-wife who lives in England. They told me she was coming to Jamaica to get me out of the house so I should leave before she comes.

I told them I was not moving out because my husband had no children and had told me several times that the house was mine.

My husband's relatives kept annoying me so much that I could be to keep the gate locked to prevent them from having free access to the house.

"When my husband was sick with cancer, his relatives did not come to help me to take care of him. Now that he is dead, some of them are demanding household items. I told them they did not deserve anything.

"Last month, one of the relatives told me they had a copy of the title for the house, and it was my husband and his ex-wife on it as joint tenants. She told me now that my husband is dead, the house belongs to the ex-wife.

"I was a bit surprised to hear the news because my husband was always telling me that the house was his and, if he died before me, the house was mine.

The relative informed me that the ex-wife, who lived in England, was coming out very soon to put me out of the house and rent it.

Last week while I was at home, a woman turned up, saying she was the ex-wife. She presented me with a copy of the title and a notice to leave the premises within the next four weeks.

"I know my husband was a divorcee but I had never met his ex-wife and she had never been to the house. My husband told me many times that, since they divorced, they had never been in touch.

I have to be looking somewhere to rent. Some of my friends are encouraging me not to give up, to take the ex-wife to court over it," she said.

You should immediately consult a lawyer on the issue. The United Kingdom Privy Council, Jamaica's final appellate court, made a ruling in 2003, in the Jamaican case of Myra Wills versus Elma Wills, which is similar to your case. The ruling was that under the Limitations of Actions Act, the ex-wife, Elma, had abandoned her interest in the property. The Privy Council ordered that the property go to Myra.

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