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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33312
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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We are both retired and separated 5 months ago. My husband

Customer Question

We are both retired and separated 5 months ago. My husband lives in a retirement flat bought with his own money, I myself own my house and have an income. Over the 18 years of marriage my husband got into debts on many occasions and I paid back his debts always hoping this would be the last time. He lives on his income which is lower than mine because he has used all his investments for the purpose of buying expensive cars, caravans etc and now I am worried that if he gets into debts I may be liable. He has never contributed to the upkeep of the house whilst we were living together and even holidays were paid by me. All bills were paid by myself. Can you tell me where I stand financially. The marriage has definitely broken down and there is no way I would have him back. Six years ago we separated 'legally' and he accepted a house as sttlement which we let as an income and moved in. Soon after he sold it and bought another one and took out a mortgage. Eighteen months later he begged me to take him back and I did and sorted out his debts. Many thanks for your help. Valentine Parsons
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Alex J. :

Hi Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Under the Statute of Frauds you can an only be liable for another persons debts (including a spouse) if you accept liability in writing (i.e a personal guarantee) - paying off a couple of his debts does not make you liable for all his other debts.

Alex J. :

His creditors will only be able to claim against his assets and his share in jointly owned assets.

Alex J. :

If you own your house completely his creditors cannot make a claim on your house.

Alex J. :

Can I assist you any further?

JACUSTOMER-1cvc2qmi- :

Thanks Alex, this is very helpful. I also wonder what would happen when he is unable to support himself because he lives beyond his means, for example, if he had to sell his flat to repay the money he borrowed and then had to rent etc. as his wife would I have any responsibility towards his upkeep? or, the fact that we are separated he would not be able to claim anything from me?

Alex J. :

Hi, Thank you. No you are not under an obligation to maintain him.

Alex J. :

When you separated did you agree what assets each party would take?

JACUSTOMER-1cvc2qmi- :

When we seperated 6 years ago we shared the money from the sale of the business we had together. We agreed he would take the house we let and I would keep the investment, both about the same value. I also stayed in my house which I already had before we married. . This was agreed through a solicitor. The separation lasted about 18 months and my husband became ill and very depressed mostly because he got into many debts and could not cope with his finances, I therefore fell sorry for him and took him back. The recent separation was agreed between us only as life became intolerable.

Alex J. : Hi Thank you. This separation "agreement" would be taken into account if you ever you sought to divorce him. You are not financially responsible for him if he goes bankrupt
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
My name is ***** ***** I am a family law specialist
I am afraid that the fact that you reconciled after the Separation Agreement was made does change the position markedly.
Accordingly there does remain a potential risk that he could claim maintenance form you in the event that he does become destitute.
The best way to avoid this is to seek a divorce and a clean break settlement
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Clare, your reply is very helpful, I will get back to you with more questions.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
You are welcome
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

Thanks for coming to my help. Ideally I would like to start divorce proceedings whilst my husband has sufficient funds to support himself and a flat to live in BUT I understand I risk to loose perhaps half of my assets. I already had a mortgage-free house and a good income before I married him in my early fifties, later on I inherited from my father and naturally I helped my two sons from a previous marriage (I was widowed at 25), one of them is terminally ill with cancer and has a young family. I find it very difficult to contemplate having to give him more money after having been used for 18 years. Is there any way out? Thanks.

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
What current assets do you each have at the moment?
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Clare

My husband owns his retirement flat which he bought for £70,000 on a 70 years lease. that is all he could afford after the sale of his house because a lot of the money went to pay off his debts. The agreement between us was that I would take care of any money left, that is around £50,000. I gave him over £20,000 for new bathroom, new kitchen etc and pay for service charge and ground rent etc he now has about £30,000 left of his money and I refuse to let him have it because I need it to pay for the essentials. I know He cannot manage his financial affairs and I do his tax return and try to guide him. His income consists of a full retirement pension plus full disability benefits and a small annuity, perhaps about £1000.00pm. He previously had incapacity benefit which stopped at retirement age. He had more investment but all was spent. He runs two expensive mercedes and a mobility scooter. He suffers from bipolar and has been on anti-depressant for years. He is insulin dependant and a heavy smoker and drinker and does not care about anything and wants to spend it all!

I was widowed at 25 with two babies, worked hard to secure a future for my sons and myself. I always owned my house which became our home when I met my husband. I worked in our business which was my husband's and his late wife for the following 10 years. I took over because my husband was unable to cope and was having lots of mental problems. I worked without a salary but built up a successful business. I still own my house and I have a £90 pw state pension and a £600pm work pension which is no longer index linked (Lehman Brothers!), I also invested my share of the proceeds from the business and receive a £1000.00 pm. In all my income is about £2000.00 pm.

I recently moved into a new house to accommodate my husband's needs and spent a lot of my money to make life more comfortable for him. However, that was not enough, he wanted out, more expensive cars etc. I am desperate to find a solution, on a one hand I have a husband who wants to spend it all, on the other I have a dying son with three children!!

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Given the settlement that was reached a few years ago and the history of his debts your assets are not at any great risk and there is no reason to delay a divorce - indeed it appears that the sooner you legally end the relationship the better
Clare

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