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Clare
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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I have a decree Nisi of about two years. Although my wife destroyed

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I have a decree Nisi of about two years. Although my wife destroyed the marriage we agreed that I would be the respondent (it was cheaper as she was legally aided). However she refuses to agree a financial settlement that is acceptable. She want to have the house and a share of my pension whilst leaving me with all the debt that she helped run up on credit cards in my name but which she had spouse cards for. These are significant debts and as I now earn the minimum wage I cannot clear, nor feel I should. I was tricked into a loan under trust from her mother (now deceased) so that I cannot live alone in the matrimonial home nor have a share of that half of the value of the home. The divorce has been ongoing for over four years. A debt advisor has recommended bankruptcy but a solicitor recommended dealing with the debt as part of the divorce. I have been to mediation twice but failed to get a reasonable agreement from my wife. I believe she is cohabiting with her boyfriend in the family home. My children are 21 and at uni, and one of 18 still at college. I'm being chased by debt collection agencies and want this concluded so I can get on with my life. I would have to be a litigant in person but that frightens me, as does the debt situation. What should I do to move it forward?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
What other assets and debts are there and what income do you each have?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello,


I'm sorry for the delay, I don't have computer access at work or time to use it. I'm a care worker on the minimum wage. To answer your questions,


The house is worth about £190k maybe a bit more. There is a Halifax mortgage on it of about £20k with about 5 years to run. My wife is 49 years old and currently paying the mortgage. There is a private trust loan from her mother's estate. It's supposed to be a trust for the children but was loaned to help purchase the house. She can live in the house without me but I could not live there without her without her or the trustees can call in the loan.


We have no other assets. Our children are 21 & 18 years of age. the oldest is at university and the younger one at sixth form college (I believe, I don't have any contact with them). My wife helped run up debts of £25k on credit cards in my name, she had spouse cards and refuses to make any contribution to the repayments. At least a year before she told me she wanted a divorce she had consulted a solicitor and yet continued to spend on the cards. It was for day to day family things. I have never asked for more than half the debts as I too used the cards. Whenever I told her I was concerned about the level of debt she simply replied that it would be sorted when she got a job. She works now as a school admin person, part time and term time only. She claims that she cannot afford to pay towards the debts or to buy me out of my share of the house. She proposes that she keep all the house, some of my pension and I keep all the debts! My pension is a local government final salary pension valued at about £140k with a projected annual pension of around £7k per year. I'm 55 this birthday and not going to be able to get or want a mortgage at my age. I will therefore have to find rent for the rest of my life. We will have been married for 30 years come this December and 5 years since we separated. I have earned around 16k this year before tax. I don't know what she has earned.


She has a boyfriend and co-habits with him in the family home and has done so since the separation, although she denies this! I have attempted to pay the debts for the last five years but am now being threatened with court action to recover the amounts. A debt management charity has recommended bankruptcy but I have also been advised to deal with the debts as part of the divorce. There is a loan for a conservatory at the house but of course I have no benefit from that. I am not contributing to either that or the mortgage at the current time, although it was all my savings that went into the house purchase. She claims to have other debts herself but the difference there is that I had no part in running those up.


I just want the matter concluded as quickly and painlessly as possible now. She has driven me to hell and back with this divorce but I now need to move on.


Many thanks.


 


XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
How much is outstanding on the loan from the Trust?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Its in two parts, £70k and £30k. I was told the smaller amount was a gift but when the legal agreement for the £70k was being drawn up the smaller amount was suddenly now a loan.


If I went bankrupt would I lose all of my share of the house or would I be better trying to get £10k towards the credit card debt from her via the small claims court?


 


Many thanks


R XXXXX XXXXX.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
For clarity
The house is worth £190,000 and there are loans/mortgages amounting to £120,000 outstanding and you have family debts of £25,000
The only other asset is your pension which has a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value of £140,000.
The starting point for division of all the net assets is 50/50 meaning that allowing for the costs of sale of the house you should each come out with £20,000 and your ex having a pension sharing Order.
However an alternative option would be for her to keep the house and pay you £25,000 to cover the debt and for you to simply keep your pension.
In fairness you might have to also keep £5000 of the debt but for negotiation purposes that is what you should be looking for.
You have two ways forward.
The bankruptcy option would wipe out your debts and your share of the house - but she would be forced to buy your share of the property if she wished to remain there
However she would still be eligible for a Pension Sharing Order although she would still need a court order for that.
The Alternative is to force the issue through the court.
You can do this one of two ways
You can apply for your Decree Absolute.
She will oppose it as finances are not settled - but the court will then give her a short deadline within which to make a formal application
Alternatively YOU can make the financial application - on a Form A http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/form-a-eng.pdf
which will lock you into a set timetable which will lead to an eventual settlement
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
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