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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33323
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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Hi thereI am splitting from my wife and have been advised

Customer Question

Hi there
I am splitting from my wife and have been advised to suggest a financial settlement before applying for divorce.
The issue we have is that she is currently on benefits namely DLA and ESA and does not work. We jointly own a house for which I pay all the bills, and she is free to use her beenfits of some £800 per month approx. for her own use such as cigarettes and alcohol.

My question is there is about £150K of equity in the house and she wants to find somewhere to live. I have been told that if she is given a lumpsum of SAY £75k she wont be able to get any housing benefit and although she would keep her benefits I might be expected to top these up if she has to get a mortgage, although don't know who would actually give her a mortgage.

So I am not sure what to do, ideally a clean break, but if I was to agree to pay her a specified amount per month for a period of years to give her the £75k would that entitle her to any benefits.

Hope you can help?
Thanks
John
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question
I will do my best to assist you but need some further information first
How much does a one bedroom property in the same general area cost?
How long have you lived together and what income do you have?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi Claire


Well we think a 1 bedroom property might be got for about £130kish, but she wants a ground floor one as we have dogs. Can she demand this? Is there any limit as to how far she moves away, as it is an expensive area, and could be cheaper say 20 miles away.


I clear about £2100 a month, and the monthly bills on the current house are about £900 per month, so if I buy her out I will need to take out a further mortgage which for £75K will be about £600 i think?


We have been married some 14 years although have lived seperate lives for many years, and indeed have seperate rooms.


 


Hope this helps


Cheers


John

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
What support system does she have locally?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Well her brother lives about 4 miles away, her mother is about 80 miles away and her father lives overseas.


She does some charity work in tunbridge wells, but does no think she can work as she gets streesed very easily. This is not helped by a serious alochol problem (2 bottles wine per night) an also she is on anti depresseants for many years


Chers


 

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
How much does she need for a ground floor flat in a reasonably close area
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi


Well a ground floor fat round here is about £130,000 if you can find one to be honest


If I was to rent her a flat which might cost £700 per month lets say, would I then be expected to pay her monthly bills? I was hoping that if I paid this rent it could come out of the lump sum from the house she is entitled to, but would at least mean we could move on?


Thank


John

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I have to be honest with you - it is highly unlikely that a court would view renting as appropriate
It is more likely that the court will award her sufficient to purchase an alternative property - with you entitled to share of that on her death or cohabitation
Alternatively you could guarantee a mortgage for her for a lower amount - although I would still expect that a court would grant her more than 50% of the equity in any event - maybe 60% of even 70%
However if you do guarantee a mortgage - or better still help her find a shared ownership scheme then any monthly income you give her could effect her benefit entitlement if her ESA is income based
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further information
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thanks Claire

Just one thought, the fact that I will have to raise a mortgage to buy this propertry for her from the martial home, I am assuming the courts will not expect me to pay her maintenance as well, as I cant afford to do this as well?

 

Thanks

John

 

Sorry Claire, would a court except any property brought for her, eg a basic one bed flat, also 70% of the equity might not be enough to buy a property in the local area, so what happens then, as she cannot get a mortgage?

Cheers

John

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
If the matter goes to court and she gets enough to purchase a property and you have to wait for your share then it is unlikely that she will get maintenance as well
If she decides to accept a lump sum then how she uses it is up to her and not you
Claire

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