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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
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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So.... My wife and I have been separated nearly 4 years. She

Customer Question

So.... My wife and I have been separated nearly 4 years. She agrees to the 2 year separation provided I pay the divorce costs.
I have a house in my sole name and have approx. £20,000 equity in it.
We were married for 9 months during which time she lived there with me.
No children of the family.
She wants 50% of the equity as a lump sum or I am to sell the house and give her 50%
I earn 35k per year she earns considerably less than me.
There is no proof she paid into the mortgage.
She left me with 12k debt (in my name) which I have only just paid off.
She has a pension though unsure of the size.
I have 2 or 3 very small pensions (around £1000 each) although do not know who they are with.
She has not asked me for a penny of financial support since separating.
I have paid the mortgage solely since separating.
I have spent circa 8k on house renovations since separating.
She tells me she could seek more than 50% in court due to her salary being lower and having a smaller mortgage capacity than me.
I am looking for advice on where I would stand if it came to court and would like the facts so I can try and negotiate with her fairly. I currently do not want to give her anything financially. (she obviously doesn't agree to clean break consent order)
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 long did you live together in total and how much does she actually earn?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I bought house 8 months before marriage so 17 months in total.

We lived together for around 3 years in rented accommodation before that.

I do not know how much she earns but I expect considerably less than me. She is a newly qualified hair stylist.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Why was the property purchased in your sole name?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Because I intended to live there alone.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am sorry - were you no cohabiting with your wife at the time?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, we had split up, i was living with a friend while I bought the house.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for that - what was the £12,000 debt used to pay for?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Home improvements. If she wants 50/50 i would like to know if i can factor in this debt, after all i still had debt when we separated.

Please provide me with an answer soon.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for that information.
The fact that this was the matrimonial home means that your ex does indeed have a financial claim on it.
However that does not mean that she is entitled to a 50/50 split
Yours was a short relationship - and you brought the property to the relationship.
In addition credit needs to be given to you for the cost of the improvements.
Realistically you will have to pay her somewhere between 10% and 20% of the net equity AT MOST - with 10% being much more likely
You shoudl offer to discuss this with her using Family mediation
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33953
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Clare

Just wondering

When you say short relationship, do you mean short marriage (9 months)?

If it went to court, Is the judge likely to rule between 10-20% after considering all of the facts?

Could she get more than 50% in court due to her smaller mortgage capacity/low salary/2 teenage children-one under 16. (sorry forgot to mention that, they are her own children. ??

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
Where are she and the children currently living?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

In privately rented house, have been since separation. They have supported themselves and not asked me for any financial support since the day she left.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I was referring to the four years in total that you lived together when I said short
However the existence of the children do alter the position.
Realistically I still think 50% is hopeful - but 20% is now more likely than 10%
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Is that was a judge would likely rule?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I can only give you the roughest of guides - but there is a good chance that that is what a Judge would say.
Having said that the cost of arguing may well eat into the limited funds
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Clare.. One last thing

is it true that she could go for more than 50% or as much as she can get due to her low salary and therefore low mortgage capacity?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
The family court has the power to distribute the assets in any way it thinks fit - and the housing needs of children are a priority.
However the fact that they are already settled elsewhere reduces the risk to you
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Clare, appreciate it.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
HI
You are most welcome
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

I have offered my ex £5000 plus I pay court costs, I evealuate this to be approx. 15% and she has accepted. Consent order is being written up once she signs to confirm the agreement... My only concern is whether the judge will rubber stamp it, surely he will if we have both agreed the settlement?

Joel

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In fact the Court does not have to Rubber Stamp it if the Judge does not consider it a fair division of the assets
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What would happen/next steps in that case?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
That would depend if either of you wished to take it further
If not then you simply go ahead with the settlement and do nothing more at all
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If we go ahead with settlement without stamped court order does that mean she could come back after divorce for more money?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Potentially yes - but it is unlikely as the longer you are apart the harder it will be for the application to be made
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

How could i prevent this happening in this instance? Ps. She registered interest on my property with land registry 2 weeks ago, would she still have this interest registered after a divorce with/without a consent order and how would i get her name removed?

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
If your ex took face to face legal advice on the offer the court is more likely to make the order
The Restriction at the Land Registry can be lifted on Decree Absolute
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

My ex is stating that she has "not" sought legal advice on the consent order. I believe she has because a good friend of hers is a family law solicitor based in Leicester and I would be stupid to think that she wouldn't have sought free "off the record" legal advice from her friend.

In your experience what reasons would she have to try to get the order rejected?

Also, with no stamped consent order and a decree absolute, can I have her interest removed from the land registry?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
If she has signed the Consent Order then it will go ahead unless she withdraws her consent
If there is no Order preventing it then the Restriction can be lifted once you have the Decree Absolute
Clare.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry I am not sure I follow?

If she has signed the consent order it will go ahead?

I thought the judge doesnt have to stamp it if he/she feels its unfair and unreasonable? Particularly if she states she hasnt sought legal advice.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Simply because the Judge does not agree the Order does not mean that the agreement cannot be acted upon - that is a matter for you and your ex - not the Judge - all the Judge can do is refuse to seal the order
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

Could you please explain to me in detail what you mean?

Ie. The agreement going ahead without judge sealing the order? How would we go about doing this? Could you explain how this works? What is the point on doing a private settlement if it is not legally binding and she could come back for more at a later date?

Plus, what orders could there be that restricts me from lifting her interest in my property upon receipt of decree absolute?

I am looking for more detail if possible.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
The Court can make an Order that the Restriction continues until the Financial matters are resolved.
You have reached an agreement that you are both content with
If the Court refuses to rubber stamp it then you can still go ahead on the basis of that agreement.
If your ex changes her mind in the future then that is a hurdle you can face then.
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Does she have to apply for that order if consent is not stamped?

Wpuld you advise I do not apply for decree absolute until financial arrangements have been dealt with?

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Yes she would have to apply for it - and there is no reason for you to delay the Decree Absolute
Clare

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