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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34278
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Wife divorces husband Jan 2012. Husband convinces wife to settle

Customer Question

Wife divorces husband Jan 2012. Husband convinces wife to settle finances privately. However, since divorce, husband refuses to accept ANY offers on sale of family home. Both remain in situ until husband issued with occupation order, (alcoholism/domestic violence) in sept 2013, and is forced to vacate property. The order expires in october 2014. Husband has fled to India. Wife cannot petition for mesher order nor financial resolution order whilst ex-husband is absent and he simply refuses to engage in dialogue towards settlement. The couple both own a 2nd property, which is buy-to-let mortgage. Wife believes husband is going to attempt to occupy 2nd property. 2 children (16 & 10 yrs) reside with wife in family home. Is there ANY way in which she can secure the family home and prevent his return to it when the occupation order expires?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: 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.
So there is no current financial agreement before the courts?
How much are the two properties worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgages?
What other assets are there and what income do they each have?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Family home worth approx £320k, 2nd property approx £380k. Do not know how much is outstanding. 2nd property purchased late 1990s was initially % only, then changed to buy to let when family home was bought 2005. Wife works FT £30,000 pa. Ex husband unemployed. No other assets. Wife just wants to keep ex husband away from family home/children until some kind of settlement can be brokered.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Does the lady know where her ex is - can he be traced
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

he calls once a week and speaks to her eldest son. he claims he will return in november. mediation sent him an email in the summer detailing her wish to settle or get a mesher order, and he did not reply, so they closed the case. we thought we could get the mesher, (i am her partner), 'behind his back' so to speak, for the sake of protecting the family home for the children. however, it turns out that ANY legal procedure requires dialogue/consent from the ex, which never occurs. sorry it's all a bit of a mess...

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Are you cohabiting?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. That is our ultimate aim, but firstly, we just want a safe environment for her & the children. My partner has attempted to take on the mortgage of the family home solo, but been refused. Add my salary to hers, (and we thus cohabit), and it could be done. Of course, ex husband would have to agree...and history suggests he would refuse. Stopping his return to the family dwelling is the chief priority.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Who was the Petitioner in the divorce?
Clare
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The wife petitioned, probably citing unreasonable behaviour, (alcoholism/domestic violence/unfit father etc). He did not respond, did not seek legal representation. His only input was to convince her to settle the finances privately. Decree absolute was Jan 2012. Since then, they continued to co-habit, (seperate rooms), whilst she holds down a night shift job, paying all the bills/mortgage - he has no job - but his behaviour led her to seek a restraining/occupation order which came into effect sept 2013. We understand an extension to the order is impossible as he has not been a threat for 12 months, but we fear he can simply walk back into the house.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
The next step your partner needs to take is to start the Financial Side of the divorce proceedings by filing a Form A
This will lock her into a Court timetable.
She will need to arrange to have the paperwork served personally on her ex so that she can prove that he has seen them
I am not sure why you believe a Mesher Order would be appropriate in this case - especially as you wish to cohabit in the future
It is more likely that your partner will retain the Matrimonial Home with her ex receiving either the majority of or all of the equity in the other property
Obviously if her ex does try and return to the property your partner can then apply for a further order
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Clare, for more or less confirming what we thought would be the next step. We hope to settle privately, but it seems we have to wait for his return, then get the court timetable in motion. Many thanks for your patience and attention to detail.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry, what is this 'further order' that my partner can apply for if the ex attempts to re-enter the family home?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
No you do NOT have to wait for his return - she can issue the application immediately and make sure it is served on him abroad
If he tries to return then she can apply for a further occupation sorder
Clare