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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33547
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My ex partner has issued proceedings claiming that I owe her

Resolved Question:

My ex partner has issued proceedings claiming that I owe her approximately £15000 although she does not state an exact sum. We separated in April 2008 and she lives in the family home with our daughter which I joint own. There are three parts to her claim:

1. We jointly own 5 rental properties which we are in the process of selling. I have managed the properties since April 2008. She says that I owe her money from the profits from the rental income. 2. I owe her backdated child maintenance from April 2008 until August 2013. 3. We have a joint loan secured on the family home. She claims I misrepresented the purpose of the loan and told her it was for home improvements whereas I used the money to pay off two credit card balances and a bank overdraft which were solely in my name. With regard to the first part of her claim I have not prepared accounts or filed tax returns regarding the rental properties. I have provided her solicitors with bank statements from April 2008 until March 2013 which show income and expenditure in relation to the properties including a Spanish apartment which is in the process of being repossessed by the bank. The figures show there has been an significant overall loss. I have also included a charge of 7% of the rental income to my ex partner for managing the properties on her behalf since we separated. Her solicitors state that bank statements are not sufficient to show profit and loss and they require accounts as would be prepared for tax purposes. With regard to the second aspect of her claim ther was an agreement that I would cover the costs of the properties in lieu of paying direct child maintenance including paying the mortgage on the home where she lives. She claims the agreement only related to the mortgage on the property where she lives and that I misrepresented the figure that I said I was paying for the mortgage to make it seem that half the mortgage payment was equivalent to the child maintenance that I would have paid her. My argument is that the losses on the rental properties [including losses on the jointly owned Spanish apartment and the charges I have made for managing the properties on her behalf] are greater than I what I would have paid her in child maintenance hence the counter claim. Since August 2013 I have paid child maintenance directly and have also continued to pay all the mortgage on the family home as she refuses to pay anything, even 50% of the original mortgage that is not in dispute. I have added these payments to the amount that she owes me. With regard to the third aspect of her claim the debts that I accrued were in relation to extensive refurbishment of the family home and work on one of the rental properties so it has benefitted my ex. I accrued these debts paying for this work. I am trying to obtain past statements at the moment and whatever evidence I can find regarding the work that was undertaken but much of the paperwork was left at the family home and some of the payments to trades people was paid in cash. I am also going to make the point that my ex is not finacially naive as she owns and rents out a house in London and had done so for a number of years prior to the loan being taken out in 2008 and that I usually paid for things to do with the houses because she only worked part time and I worked full time so I had more income and was better able to obtain credit. I should also say that there were proceedings in 2011 and an order was made for sale on all the rental properties and any profits to be divided 50/50. We were not represented and my ex agreed to the terms of the order. The order has since expired. I am currently preparing a defence to the claim and a counterclaim. I would like to know the following: Your views on the strength of my defense and counterclaim; whether you think the court are going to be unwilling to accept bank statements as proof of rental income and expenditure and loss; the strength of my ex's case regarding the joint loan and whether there are any other factors to consider in preparing a defense; The fact that there was no order for child maintenance and no sum specified although we acknowledge there was a verbal agreement; the reasonableness of charging my ex a management fee for the rental properties since we have separated; Any other matters that I haven't considered.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: 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.
What makes you think that the 2011 Order has expired?
Why can you not produce accounts for the rentals?
has a solicitor actually drafted the claim for her?
Was the child maintenance issue agreed in writing?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi


 


I contacted the court and the judge confirmed that the order had expired. It was badly drafted and not clear. It didn't make much sense to me to make an order for sale that it is time limited.


 


I have not filed any tax returns for the rentals. No excuse. I am in the process of talking to an accountant about this but this won't be completed before I have to file a defense. I don't think I owe any tax if they take the Spanish rental property into account but will have to pay fines for late filing I think the solicitor has set out in brief the three main areas of the claim, literally three or four sentences but she has written the summary of the claim which attempts to paint me in a very negative light. Child maintenance was not agreed in writing just a vague understanding.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Can you not put a basic set of Accounts together reasonable swiftly?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The properties were purchased in 2006/7 and we haven't filed any tax returns. My ex is claiming that I owe her rent from the properties from the point that I left in April 2008. I need to speak to the accountant but I am not sure if I can just file the returns from 2008 and deal with the rest later. I have all the bank details from 2008 so it would be relatively easy to prepare accounts from this point. The other option I was thinking of is to request an adjournment at the first hearing in order to allow me to finish preparing accounts as its going to be difficult to settle the issue of whether I owe my ex money from the rent or child maintenance, as this is linked, without definitive figures. If I requested an adjournment is this likely to be granted given that you are given 28 days to file a defense with supporting documents? Also do you have a view on the joint loan issue.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
They do not need to be tax accounts - just a simple set showing monies in and out
Would that be possible?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I already supplied my ex's solicitors with bank statements from April 2010 [I think I said before that we separated in 2008 it was 2010] and a separate sheet with a summary of all the income and expenditure, rental payments, mortgages payments etc, relating to the houses. They have insisted on seeing tax accounts. I am also wondering whether the court will query why I don't have tax accounts as they are presumably more of a definitive record of profit or loss.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Right - so you have already produced a Summary of Income and Expenditure relating to the properties - and backed it up with Bank Statements - is that correct?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes that's correct.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
That is fine then
1. With regard to the first part of the claim you simply deny that there is any money due on the basis that there has been no profit (although you must redo the figures removing the 7% charge unless you have evidence in writing that you agreed to this
You can attach a copy of the basic accounts to show this - so long as ALL of the costs are valid - the actual expenditure exceeds the actual income
2. With regard to the Maintenance you simply say that there is no cause of action and no legal basis for the claim
3. With regard to this odd one again you should argue that there is no cause of action and that is a matter more properly dealt with under a Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Application since at present she has shown no loss
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Hi


 


Thanks for your response. I am clear about what you say in 1.


 


With regard to the maintenance I have accepted that there was a tacit agreement that I would cover the costs of the properties in lieu of child maintenance. Doesn't that form a contract and if so wouldn't I need to account for the sums I would have paid her in child maintenance in my calculations?


 


With regard to the joint loan the route your suggesting, if i undertsand it correctly, is that she would need to makes a different application to get the court to consider our respective financial interests in the property. Doesn't this just potentially put off the argument for another day? Isn't there merit in a more direct approach to say that she was aware of what the loan was for and is jointly and severally liable? She has stated that I mislead her by stating that it was for home improvements. I query how she could have been mislead because either she saw home improvements or not. If there were no home improvements I would have expected her to challenge the loan.She did not query the loan in the last set of proceedings and has received statements from 2008. She is also not finacially naive as she rents a home in London. My debts were incurred because of the home improvements. I have some evidence from planning that structural work was undertaken on the property and I hope to get some further evidence from bank statements. I also have documentation that shows that she is not being entirely honest in her statement about other issues which brings into question her reliability.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Tactic agreements are not legally enforceable
i gad forgotten the earlier proceedings - in fact you defence is that this loan was dealt with as part o fthe earlier proceedings
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33547
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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