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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34271
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have a question about a debt owed by my soon-to-be

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I have a question about a debt owed by my soon-to-be ex-daughter-in-law.
I lent my son's partner £5000 interest-free in June 2003 specifically to enable them to buy a flat and put a roof over their heads with their first child.
We all at the time lived in Southern England. She individually asked me for the loan - not both of them.
There was a loose agreement that I would be repaid as and when they were able to do so.
She wrote me a Thank You note in July 03 thus acknowledging the loan, specifying it as such, and paying an initial £100.
She subsequently paid a further three £100 payments with the last in March 04.
Because she was not working and my son was on a low income I offered them goodwill, I acquiesced on deferred payments and rolled-over the debt into their next, larger, property when they had a second child.
They later married and had another child.
Her parents moved out to a European country and in 2013, and unknown to my son, she began plotting to take herself and the children to be near her parents, uprooting them and disturbing their education.
She seemingly browbeat my son into agreeing the move and she moved out to the European country with the children, leaving him to find his own accommodation, in London and with reduced funds.
She chose a house - one in need of refurbishment - and agreed with my son that she would carry out the works to improve it.
I once again deferred the payments as there was no money in the pot to repay me and they needed funds to refurbish their house.
Despite my son regularly sending most of his money out to her, she has not carried out the works but instead has declared the house uninhabitable, filed for divorce citing his unreasonable behaviour (?), and told my son she is selling the house - decree nisi has been granted.
Naturally, since she is selling the house in which I have over the years indirectly invested £4600, I want my loan returned.
In May 2016 I sent her a letter of notice requiring her to repay me, in hard copy and via email, including her parents as addressees to ensure she got the message.
There has been no reply, although I sent the hard copy Royal Mail tracked, it seems that she has refused to sign for it and it has been returned to the UK 'undeliverable'.
She declares in her 'statement of truth' that she has moved to another address but has not disclosed that address to me or my son.
In June 2016 I sent her a letter before action and another copy of the letter of notice as hard copy in a post-paid envelope via her solicitors, asking them to append her current address. They have not notified me that they have refused this request.
I also sent the letter before action and the letter of notice via email, once again copying her parents.
QUESTION: 1. Can I write directly to the Family Court to request that she repays me from the sale of the marital home when this goes to court for financial settlement? She has refused mediation citing that she lives abroad, however she voluntarily flew to UK for the last court hearing.
QUESTION: 2. If she does not declare her debt to me in her Financial Statement, is she in contempt of court and can the court force her to pay me as she has been dishonest in not declaring this liability, my having taken more than necessary steps to advise her that she still owes me?
QUESTION: 3. Can I apply to the Small Claims Court using her solicitors address as her address since her solicitor has asserted in their initial letter that she is UK resident? I am taking my May 2016 letter of notice as the start date for the time limitation on debt. I would prefer UK small claim, since EU claim limits differ and although Portuguese time limitation is way longer, their system is agonisingly slow and could be very expensive, giving me less return.
ALTERNATIVELY: Your best advice on this...
Many Thanks for your advice on this.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

How long has the money been owed to you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am calculating the date as from my Letter of Notice in May 2016 but I first lent the money in 2003 - but see my explanation as below:
I have a question about a debt owed by my soon-to-be ex-daughter-in-law.
I lent my son's partner £5000 interest-free in June 2003 specifically to enable them to buy a flat and put a roof over their heads with their first child.
We all at the time lived in Southern England. She individually asked me for the loan - not both of them.
There was a loose agreement that I would be repaid as and when they were able to do so.
She wrote me a Thank You note in July 03 thus acknowledging the loan, specifying it as such, and paying an initial £100.
She subsequently paid a further three £100 payments with the last in March 04.
Because she was not working and my son was on a low income I offered them goodwill, I acquiesced on deferred payments and rolled-over the debt into their next, larger, property when they had a second child.
They later married and had another child.
Her parents moved out to a European country and in 2013, and unknown to my son, she began plotting to take herself and the children to be near her parents, uprooting them and disturbing their education.
She seemingly browbeat my son into agreeing the move and she moved out to the European country with the children, leaving him to find his own accommodation, in London and with reduced funds.
She chose a house - one in need of refurbishment - and agreed with my son that she would carry out the works to improve it.
I once again deferred the payments as there was no money in the pot to repay me and they needed funds to refurbish their house.
Despite my son regularly sending most of his money out to her, she has not carried out the works but instead has declared the house uninhabitable, filed for divorce citing his unreasonable behaviour (?), and told my son she is selling the house - decree nisi has been granted.
Naturally, since she is selling the house in which I have over the years indirectly invested £4600, I want my loan returned.
In May 2016 I sent her a letter of notice requiring her to repay me, in hard copy and via email, including her parents as addressees to ensure she got the message.
There has been no reply, although I sent the hard copy Royal Mail tracked, it seems that she has refused to sign for it and it has been returned to the UK 'undeliverable'.
She declares in her 'statement of truth' that she has moved to another address but has not disclosed that address to me or my son.
In June 2016 I sent her a letter before action and another copy of the letter of notice as hard copy in a post-paid envelope via her solicitors, asking them to append her current address. They have not notified me that they have refused this request.
I also sent the letter before action and the letter of notice via email, once again copying her parents.
QUESTION: 1. Can I write directly to the Family Court to request that she repays me from the sale of the marital home when this goes to court for financial settlement? She has refused mediation citing that she lives abroad, however she voluntarily flew to UK for the last court hearing.
QUESTION: 2. If she does not declare her debt to me in her Financial Statement, is she in contempt of court and can the court force her to pay me as she has been dishonest in not declaring this liability, my having taken more than necessary steps to advise her that she still owes me?
QUESTION: 3. Can I apply to the Small Claims Court using her solicitors address as her address since her solicitor has asserted in their initial letter that she is UK resident? I am taking my May 2016 letter of notice as the start date for the time limitation on debt. I would prefer UK small claim, since EU claim limits differ and although Portuguese time limitation is way longer, their system is agonisingly slow and could be very expensive, giving me less return.
ALTERNATIVELY: Your best advice on this...
Many Thanks for your advice on this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Response as above.
Got to leave the keyboard - could you email me when you have a response?
Many Thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK, thank you for your response and apologies for the delay. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you in a short while. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your questions to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

I have looked into your query in more detail but unfortunately it is not something I can assist with. I will therefore ‘opt out’ and a colleague better placed to deal with the nature of your query should hopefully pick this up soon. Please do not reply in the meantime as that will just assign the question back to me and you will experience a delay. Thank you

Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
It seems the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. I've been working hard to find a new professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're OK with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am OK with continuing to wait for an answer.
Ben Jones, as above, has 'opted out' of this question and suggested that a colleague better placed to deal with the nature of your query would 'hopefully' pick it up soon.
Obviously nobody has. Grateful if you could continue with your search for someone with the relevant expertise.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first.

For clarity how much was the purchase price of the property they first purchased?

How much is the current property worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Clare
The property they first purchased in Lightwater was in the region of £125,000
I have no accurate figure of the value of the property in Portugal but they are mortgage free - this being her intention when they moved from Badshot Lea (Farnham) UK.
I believe the current property is worth in excess of £300,000
Thanks for your help with this.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Which country is the divorce taking place in?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Further hearing scheduled to take place at Lancaster Family Court in early August this year.
My son's side are trying to have it moved to the Central Family Court as she still lives in Portugal while he lives/works in London.
The Judge at the last hearing in Lancaster, having noted that she declared herself to be 'otherwise destitute' in her Statement of Truth, excused her from attending the August hearing so she didn't have to once again spend £550 on flights.
VMT
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

So there is an ongoing financial claim

Has this debt been raised by your son within those proceedings?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
To clarify 'ongoing financial claim' - Decree Nisi has been granted and both parties have to present financial disclosure at the next hearing.
This will be the first time she has had to disclose assets and liabilities.
She has declined Mediation based on her residing in Portugal, but decided to fly in to Liverpool at great expense for the last hearing in Lancaster. So this is next stage after grant of Decree Nisi, but without Mediation.
My son has been advised by his side that he should just declare his assets and liabilities and not involve this debt, however, his side are fully aware of the debt.
I wonder if his side have put this in the 'too difficult' box or are simply protecting his interests as she may try to split the debt?
Since I have sent her Letter of Notice followed by Letter before Action she will be also aware of the debt but will likely ignore it in her disclosure.
I have indicated in the Letter of Notice that I consider the debt to be hers alone since she, not both of them, requested the loan and she hand-wrote the acknowledgement note accompanying first payment.
She may say that she has not received these letters, but I have sent copies to her and her parents by email with request her parents notify her, and have sent hard copy letters in a closed post-paid envelope to her solicitors with a request they forward them to her, since she declares in her statement of truth that she has moved, but not stated forwarding address.
This may indicate a pattern of behaviour, but that is conjecture on my part.
She has an ongoing maximum overdraft on their joint account, and my wife and I have had to bail her out of debt in years past - so we know she is financially 'flaky' .
Thanks for your help with this.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

The only potentially successful option that is open to you is to "Intervene" within the Financial side of the divorce proceedings to make a claim against the value of the

last Matrimonial home.

To answer your specific questions in Order

1. The only way that the family court will take notice of you is if you apply as an "intervenor" in the proceedings arguing that the money that was used to purchase the first matrimonial home came from you and needs to be returned.

2. No she will not be in contempt of court and the court will ONLY make a ruling on the issue if you are an "intervenor"

3. No you cannot use her solicitors address in this way UNLESS they specifically tell you they are acting for you in this matter

You may in fact already be out of time to take any other - depending on whether you and she discussed the debt after 2004

Please ask if you need further details

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your response,
My Son & Daughter-in-law have discussed the loan / debt with me at each change of residence and I have made it clear that the debt was still owed but that I appreciated the financial difficulty they were in, having to move house as she had more children / my son changed job.
I cut them some slack and allowed irregular repayments because only my son was working, on a low wage and they were only just keeping up the mortgage payments on the UK properties. She has never had a full-time or regular part-time job since the birth of the first child. She has been aware of the debt and acknowledged it at all times since I made the loan.
To move along:
Question A. Can you advise if the circumstances above suggest that I am still within time limits?
Question B. Do you know of any template letters/forms that I may be able to download/use when 'intervening'?
Question C. Do I need to declare myself as an 'intervenor' to the Family Court before the first Financial hearing or can I declare my interest after the first hearing?
Paperwork for the first hearing has to be submitted very soon, and I still don't know whether the case has been transferred from Lancaster Family Court to the Central Fam Ct.
Bit of brinkmanship going on from her side, I suspect...
VMT
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Are you able to discuss this with your son?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Have fully discussed all this with my son but his side have not provided any suggestions better than yours.
He has a meeting with his solicitor in three days time to finalise his paperwork.
In the meantime, could you give me your opinion on the questions above so he and I can plan the next move?
Many Thanks
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Please understand that no matter what you feel about who should pay it it is a matrimonial debt which will be taken into account by the court and the Judge may decide who is responsible for payment - or more likely, will order that it is repaid from the proceeds of any sale before those proceeds are divided between your son and his ex

The starting point is for you to write a formal letter to both sets of solicitors and inform them that you intend to pursue the issue of the loan made to you and will intervene if necessary. This allows them both to agree that this is a matrimonial debt and that you need to be repaid - which would mean that there is no need for an Intervention.

If there is no acknowledgement of the debt from both parties and your son does not wish to raise the issue then you will need to make an applictaion to be Joined into the proceedings using the form here

http://www.familylaw.co.uk/system/uploads/attachments/0002/0937/FP2.pdf

(Ignore the adoption reference)

The fee will be £155.

In answer to your specific questions

A, Yes well within

b see above

c that is up to you but the sooner the better

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34271
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Claire
Thanks for your opinions.
I have spoken further to my son and he will raise this with his solicitor who will be helping him complete / check his submission including Form E in the next few days.
I am sure neither side would want me to complicate things by joining the proceedings so there may be added encouragement for them to resolve this in an integrated way.
However, if the resolution is not to my satisfaction I am now better briefed and feel more confident about a course of action.
Thank You very much for your advice and suggestions,
I think that about wraps it up. I shall complete the rating at the top of the page.
Kind Regards ***** ***** again,
Carl
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome and I hope all goes well