How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Clare Your Own Question
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
13262538
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

I am a 48 year old man who has a complicated family law

Customer Question

Hello I am a 48 year old man who has a complicated family law problem, hope you can help( well, it feels complicated to me!) I have two children who are 19 and 16. When me and their mother split up ten years ago I moved out. We were not married but we had a joint mortgage on the family home. We made an informal agreement that I would continue to pay the mortgage (£450 per month) to cover maintenance for the children. I didn't really want to have to sell and uproot the kids to a house potentially away from their schools etc, and my ex partner could not afford to buy my half so I have stayed on the joint mortgage. Now the youngest is 16 I'm starting to consider my options. I don't necessarily want to sell the house( this is for the kids benefit) untill the youngest is independent(19) however I would like to reduce payments now the eldest is 19..and claiming job seekers allowance. I would like to pay 200-250 a month for the youngests maintenance and my ex partner to make up the difference of 200-250. She currently does not work but is able to work....i would give her a few months to get work and organise her finances etc. When Avril reaches 19 I would like the house to be sold, the mortgage paid off, and any equity split between me and my ex. I have three children under 4 and another mortgage to pay. I earn around £40,000 a year. Where do I stand? Many thanks for reading. Me and my ex are not on particularly bad terms but do not speak.
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?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

the house is worth approx 130,000. There is approx 70,000 left on the mortgage.thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
May I ask why your ex is not currently working?
Where does her income come from?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

she used to work as a nurse when we split up, she worked two days a week on my days off( for childcare). Then after we split this continued for a year then she had 6 months off work for stress. Then left. Her income comes from child support benefit, kids get free meals etc at school, she pays no mortgage, then I presume single parent benefits of some sort. Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
How often does the 16 year old stay with you overnight?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

the 16 year old stays here on an ad hoc basis, my shifts at work as a train driver are very erratic and it wouldn't be possible to do every other weekend for example. She used to to stay more but now she's older and want to go out with friends( I live in a different area) I would say its one or two nights a month and meet ups throughout the day during the month

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
In that case your child maintenance liability woul dbe £320 a month - you can calculate it using the guide here
http://www.nacsa.co.uk/index.php/cs3-calculations
It is perfectly reasonable for you to pay her this and expect her to meet the mortgage in full using this and her other income.
Waiting until your youngest is 19 is also reasonable as in fact the court would order a sale any time after the child turns 18
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

if she doesn't agree to pay the rest of the mortgage, then the house could be repossessed ( worst case scenario obviously) what would happen if she refused to pay? Many thanks. Also, as its a joint mortgage, can she have any more that 50% of the equity as she's been living in it? Also ive worked out what id be obliged to pay through the csa web site and it was around 250 taking into account all my details. I'll recalculate using your link, but I was just wondering if you had included my 3 young children on your calculations. Many thanks for your assistance.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Your Gross Income is £40,000
You have a discount of 16% for your children.
You then have to pay 12% of your gross income by way of maintenance - in fact £335
Of course there is a risk that she will not pay the mortgage - but if she does default then that would be a reason to apply to the Court for an immediate Order for sale
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

does gross income just include my income? I am married and my wife works. ( also.a gross income is before tax and pension etc is that correct?) many thanks for your help. Also, what happens if my ex gets a bit disgruntled and starts to say that the mortgage payments I have paid were never for maintenance...where would she stand with this? Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is your income only that counts - and the pension payments can be deducted.
Child Maintenance Is not backdated so there is no problem there
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I'm not sure how many times im allowed to question you! But...how do you think is the best way to proceed? Should I send an official type letter? I'll record any correspondence...i just don't want it to get nasty we have remained on ok terms, apart from we don't speak! Also, is there any way she can get more than 50% of the equity of the house when its sold...ive heard friends who have got

say 30% of the house because their ex partners have been living there carrying out repairs etc.thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You can either write - or arrange to discuss matters with her directly using Family mediation
www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk
With regard to the equity share she can only claim a larger share if she has paid for improvements to the property which have increased the value of the property
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

ok thankyou, you have been very helpful. When I am no longer obliged to pay maintenance and the house is to be sold. Will I be legally required to pay half the mortgage whilst the house is on the market but they are living there? What about if they move out

before its sold?who is legally obliged to pay it then? How long could my ex live in the house while it is on the market?Think that's everything really..thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
There are two different legal issues here
So far as the Mortgage Company is concerned you are jointly and severally liable for the mortgage and remain so whether you are living there or not
However so far as the position between you and your ex is concerned if you are not living there then she cannot force you to pay anything towards the mortgage - she has to pay it all if she wishes to remain there.
She can remain there until the property is sold - but of you get evidence that she is acting to deter possible buyers you can apply for an Order forcing her to leave
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

ok a few more things have come to mind, if she does default on the mortgage you say I can apply to the court for an order for sale. The mortgage company will still wan their money however so who would have to

pay that? Also, would that affect my credit

score if the mortgage were to go into arrears because of her? Also does it cost money to apply to the court for an immediate order for sale and who would cover this cost? At the moment the direct debit for the mortgage comes from my account, if I cancelled this and made her responsible for the mortgage payments, is a cash transfer into her account for the youngest maintenance still solid proof that I have been paying maintenance as I am obliged to do? If the mortgage were to go into arrears, would we both be liable forr this or would it come out of her equity when the house sells? Thanks

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
There is a risk to your Credit Score if she does not pay - but the only other option is to keep paying all of it
Yes there are court costs involved and whilst you may be able to reclaim them there is no guarantee
Provided you can show the money transferring then you have evidence of the maintenance payment - you would both be liable so far as the mortgage company is concerned but you could claim your share back form her equity
Clare
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks for your advice

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
You are most welcome I hope all goes well
Clare