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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34232
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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After 22 years my partners ex husband is claiming half her

Resolved Question:

After 22 years my partners ex husband is claiming half her house. He never contributed to the morgage after the divorce. He has actually waited for my partner to pay off the morgage and totally fix the house including a new roof, new windows, kitchen and bathroom refit. The youngest child turned 18 in 2000 and he never made any claims then, but the morgage still had 12 years to go. My partner was medically retired in 2012 and is unable to ever work again and only has a pension of £235 pm. This will end up in court and my question is: financially we can not afford a solicitor and because of my partners ill health she is unable to represent herself, would I be allowed to speak for her in court, even if it meant she gives me a power of attorney.
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 property worth; how much did the work done enhance the value of the property an dhow much was the outstanding mortgage when he left?
Was there a financial Order within the divorce proceedings and dis he ever pay child maintenance?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The property is worth around 85000 - 90000.


 


The roof was 3750, the windows was 5600, the central heating 2200, the loft floored and boxed 1500, kitchen and Bathroom refit 2300.


 


The morgage was taken out in 1985 for 15000 They separated in 1989 so the morgage was only 4 years old when they seperated. Both he and my partner contributed toward the morgage for the first 4 years and then my partner paid it for the duration, until it was paid off in 2012


 


We are not sure if there is a financial order and I have applied for copies of statements from the Woolwich, and copies of all the paper work from the divorce. He did pay child maintenance of 7.50 per child until they reached the age of 17 there were 3 children.


 


I did see a solicitor and he did say her ex husbands name is XXXXX XXXXX the deeds and he was entitled to claim half the value of the house however his share would decrease because of the circumstances ie the expenses we have spent on the house, the fact he has waited all this time and that he waited for the house to be paid off etc, My partner has struggled all her working life to hold onto the house and if she knew this was coming she would have let it go instead of struggling.


 


If this ends up in court we do not have the money to pay solicitors and I really wanted to know if it would be possible for me to speak on my partners behalf, she was medically retired and is just not up to this. If the magistrate ruled in her ex husbands favour and awarded him anything more than 10000 we would be forced to sell the house. This just doesn't seem right. I would have expected the solicitors/courts who dealt with the divorce to have been more clear as to every ones position and if he was going to claim half the house 25 years later surely he should have been contributing to the morgage?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have paid £33 for you to answer a question which was: "If I was able to talk for my partner in court" and you have asked me to answer more questions yet there has been no reply.


 


Please could I know why I have paid £33.00 for you to ask me questions.


 


 


Please could you let me know if I can talk for my partner if this case when to court or not.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
My apologies for the delay I was in court all day
I asked the questions to try and assess the extent of the problem that you are facing.
The fact that he paid that maintenance without the involvement of the CSA would suggest the existence of a Court Order - however the fact that your partner has no recollection of negotiations involving the house is a major concern
The matter HAS to be dealt with sooner or later as otherwise on the death of your partner her ex might obtain ALL the property unless your partner Severs the Joint Tenancy (unless she has already done so) Even if she has then your chances of successfully getting more than 50% of the equity is remote.
In terms of the actual settlement the important issue is how much the work you did increased the value of the property - which is likely to be by more than you actually spent so it is VERY important to get the valuations sorted swiftly.
In addition IF there wasn't a Financial Order made and IF she has never been married then her best option is to make an application within the old divorce proceedings as the Family Court has wide power to redistribute the assets in any way they consider fair
I have to say that I doubt it will be as low as £10,000 but it could be - and certainly I would hope it cold be kept to under £20,000
It will also be possible to claim credit for some of the mortgage - i would suggest claiming a set off of £5,000
I fear that this will not get the figure down to £10,000
With regard to the issue that you raised you are able to act as a Mckenzie Friend and be with your partner in
Court BUT you cannot speak for her - only a solicitor or barrister can do that HOWEVER you can deal with all the out of court matters and then use a Public Access barrister for the hearings - the best of both worlds as it were
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
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