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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Good morning. My situation is a bit long winded but here goes.

Customer Question

Good morning. My situation is a bit long winded but here goes. I separated from my husband almost 6 years ago and am still trying to sort out the divorce. I left our marital home with our son due to an assault on me by my husband for which he was charged. I went to live with my parents and took only my clothes and my sons clothes. I lived with them for 2 months and then I rented a house for myself and my son to live in. I wanted to sell the marital home as I couldnt afford my half of the mortgage payments as I had rent and all household bills to pay for myself in my new home. My husband did not want to sell the house so agreed to pay the mortgage. He lived there for a few months before moving in with his girlfriend but insisted that he still wanted to keep the marital home on.
I am now in a position where I would like to make a financial claim against my husband for all my personal belongings which I never got back from the house, he has changed the locks and I cannot gain entry to see what is still left. I am on the understanding the he has also sold all of our funiture (I had to buy new furniture to provide a home for our son). The house is now empty and no one lives there, however I do believe that he has at some point had a tenant in there.
We also had a car which I used to take our son to school and to get to work which he wouldnt give to me when I left even though he had a company car and didnt use it. A few weeks after we split up the car was reported stolen and was found burnt out. I do believe that he claimed the insurance money from it and I never saw a peny of it. For the first 6 months after our split I received no money from him for our son or for anything else until the CSA stepped in and I started receiving £200 per month which was taken directly out of his wages.
About 6 months ago he found out that I was going to make a financial claim against him for my personal belongings, furniture, car etc and he suddenly was out of work. He had left his £35,000 per year job and stopped paying maintenance so I now get nothing from him. He is now claiming benefits and has stopped paying the mortgage and now I'm being hounded by the mortgage company for half the mortgage payments. I simply cannot afford to pay anything towards the mortgage. I earn £165 per month and get no benefits at all. I live with my new partner in his house with his 3 children. He cannot afford to pay half my mortgage as he has his own and has his 3 children to support. I have £165 per month to support my son with no help from his father.
Could you please advise me how I stand where the mortgage is concerned, can I force the sale of the house to clear the mortgage. How do I stand making a claim for a financial settlement if he claims he has no money now (by the way he still finds the money to go on holidays abroad). I have also found out that he is running his own business although I'm not sure how successful it is.
Any advice you could give me would be greatly apppreciated.
Many thanks
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Thank your for your question.
I will try and assist you but I do need some further information first.
How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
How far have the divorce proceedings reached and can you confirm what your income is please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The house was purchased in 2005 for £98,000 and the amount currently outstanding on the mortgage is £88,890. There is currently 2 months arrears on the payments.

I have just applied for Decree Nisi and am told it will be approximately 6 weeks before it comes through.

I currently earn £165 per month and I get £80 per month in child benefit. I do not get any benefits or tax credits.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Just for clarity - you have no wish to return to the property at all?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No I haven't

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
As a joint owner of the property you are entitled to return there at any time - and to break in if necessary to inspect it.
It woudl be sensible to visit as soon as possible in order to get a valuation so that you can ascertain the extent of any negative Equity that you may be facing.
Within the divorce proceedings you can make an application for the finances to be dealt with - and this will include asking for an order that the house is sold (assuming that it has not been repossessed in the mean time.
Within the court process your ex will have to make full financial disclosure although the fact that you are co-habiting limits the extent of the claims that you can make
I hope this assists - but if you need more information or clarification please do not hesitate to ask
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Does the fact that he is also co-habiting affect any claim I make also.

Can I make a claim for all my personal belongings and for at least half of the furniture and also for the car we had. He also transferred our savings from our joint account into his business account and I never received any of this. He also kept my monthly salary for the month I left plus our sons child benefit. This totalled £1,080. Could I claim this back.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
I am afraid that his co-habitation is not relevant (unless he was aiming to claim from you)
If the furniture has gone then unless it was exceptionally valuable then any claim in that regard is limited - but the fact that your savings were used in his business does mean that you have a clear claim on the business - it is difficult to predict how much that claim would be without knowing what his assets are.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He no longer has that business but has another one although I'm not sure how successful it is as I understand he is claiming benefits.

How do I stand claiming for my personal belongings.

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
If they are gone then again unless they had a great intrinsic financial value there is little that can be done about it know.
There is also the problem that although you did not know it you could have gone back at any time to collect your belongings - taking the police if necessary.
However the major issue will be to identify what assets there actually are before you can work out what the settlement may be.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Where do I stand if he claims he is on benefits

Expert:  Clare replied 4 years ago.
Until you have financial disclosure there is no way that you can assess what claims you may have - but your claim is in respect of capital and not income in any event

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