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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34106
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 My daughters ex partner moved into her house in 2009. At

Customer Question

Hi
My daughters ex partner moved into her house in 2009. At this time she had to give up benefits she was receiving and court ordered spousal maintenance. The partner promised to at least match these amounts. She has two children from her earlier marriage and one from this relationship for which they both pay child maintenance only.
He never did match these amounts that she gave up but did contribute two quite large sums of money, although this totalled far less than the amounts she lost over a 4 year period.
She has now received a solicitors letter asking for £35000 or to take a charge on her property, and the solicitor has asked for information regarding the mortgage and increase in house price over the period he lived there and given 28 days under the 'pre action protocol' to respond. He also owned his own house which he rented out during this period.
Questions please:
Does he have a valid claim?
Should she respond?
How much information should she supply?
Should she let the solicitor have the full facts or should she withhold these in case it goes to court?
Does she have a case to counter claim baring in mind that his promise was only verbal?
Thanks you
Steve
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 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?
How long were they living together and what exactly did he pay for?
Did they have a child together and if so who does the child live with?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
The house is worth around £425k. It was bought in Jan 2008 and there is currently around £125k mortgage outstanding. It was purchased by a combination of split equity from her former house with her ex husband, parental gift and mortgage.
Her ex partner moved in around May 2009 and they had a child together in sept 2010. The child lives with my daughter. He moved out in March 2013.
He paid £1000pm to cover everything, including food, heat, light, washing, ironing, and child care as my daughter was unable to work when their daughter was born.
When he left he took everything he had bought (including the mattress of the bed!) as well as their engagement ring and a watch, amongst other things.
Kind regards
Steve
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What was the going rate for rent in the area at that time?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Around £2000pm minimum.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
What are the two large sums of money that you referred to?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He contributed to the cost of a conservatory approx £14k and towards repaying my daughters ex husband to remove his charge on the property approx £23k.
At the same time she lost spousal maintenance of £12k pa and substantial benefit payments which he had promised, verbally, to at least match.
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Did the Conservatory increase the value of the property at all - and if so roughly by how much?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Very slightly as it took up much of the back garden. Possibly around an extra £5/6k max
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry but the news is mixed.
The £37,000 he has spent on improving the property and "buying out" her ex means that he does have a clear financial claim on the property.
His promise that he would replace all the income she lost is a point that she can make - although I fear he will argue that he meant that the money he paid each month would replace that
However it is worth making a strong argument on this point as she can certainly say that she acted on the promise that was made to her financial detriment
It would however be difficult for him to force a sale until his child is 18 - however given that it is likely that his money will be expressed as a percentage rather than a fixed sum.
Your daughter could offer to discuss matters with him using Family Mediation
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk
I hope that whilst disappointing this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for that. Would the fact that he took her engagement ring and a watch valued at around £10k and earlier took a car registered in her name and part exchanged it for another purchased in his name which he subsequently took have any consequence? And could she counter claim for this and the loss of maintenance and benefits?
Also how much information should we supply to his solicitor at this point?
Thank you
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Who purchased the watch?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Her partner. It was a gift to her but he took it when he left
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Then there is little point in mentioning the watch or anything else
She will struggle to counterclaim using the promise - it is better used as a defence to the claim on the house
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok thanks. And finally should we give the full facts to his solicitor or just answer basic questions and see if it goes to court?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It would be better to draft a full and proper response explaining why you do not consider that any payment is due and offer mediation
Clare
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry that you felt that my service was poor meaning that I get no credit for my time but which is not necessary for and does not trigger a response.
I appreciate that the news I had to give you was not good - bit please ask if you do need further clarification or information
Clare
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry I only looked at the first column and thought it was a sliding scale with the circles to the right indicating improving scores and pressed the one I thought was for good service. When I realised what I had done I subsequently tried, twice, to rectify this which clearly didn't,t happen.
I will try again now, but let me know if I need to do anything else.
Regards
Steve
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
That is fine - many thanks
Clare