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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Got Married in Nigeria in 1995. Relocated to the UK in 1996.

Customer Question

Got Married in Nigeria in 1995. Relocated to the UK in 1996. Was born in the Uk hence a British citizen. Relocated back to Nigeria in 2011 but my wife abducted my children from from the private school they were in Nigeria and relocated back to the unkind 2012. Rented a place at Gravesend where she was paying rent of £1100 monthly. which was very far from our former house at Barnehurst which was closer to the children's school. Thinking I could sort things out with her, the vacated the tenants in my property at Barnehurst and relocated the family there with the understanding that we share the monthly mortgage payment of £900 50/50.
I live in Nigeria and she works here as a nurse and earns about £2200 monthly. Since 2012 until now she has refused to contribute towards the mortgage.i pay the children's school expenses, send them pocket money monthly buy their laptop and etc in addition to this huge monthly mortgage payment. The mortgage is solely in my name.
We be been living apart since 2012 and since we contracted our marriage in Nigeria I have sought divorce over there and that should be through in the next couple of months.
Now, I am struggling to keep up with the monthly mortgage payment and I intend selling the property but I know she won't allow prospective buyers access to view and all that?
My children are aged 21 in Uni. 18 doing her A levels and 16 awaiTing GCSE result.
Please advise.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further informtaion first.

How will the financial settlement between you be dealt with?

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

What other assets are there and what is your income?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Please throw more light on financial settlement.
The property is worth between £350,000 and £400,000. £230,000 is outstanding on the property.
There are no other assets. I don't have a fixed income. I live in Nigeria and I am self employed and do contracts. Which are not regular.
Expert:  Clare replied 12 months ago.

What is your actual income?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
163;1000 monthly.
I want to remind you that the divorce proceeding has been in court in Nigeria. I have filed for divorce and my Ex in the last court session had said she is not contesting the process. And in another two or so seatings, the marriage will be dissolved.
I understand a divorce from a competent court in Nigeria is legally binding in the Uk.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

The divorce is indeed recognised in the UK and will enable your ex to make an applictaion to the Uk Courts for a financial settlement following a foreign divorce

How much does a cheaper three bedroom property in the same school area cost to buy?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
About £280,000/300,000.What kind of financial settlement will she be entitled?Can't I go ahead and sell the house even if she will not agree to viewings from prospective buyers?Since the mortgage is solely in my name and I have been paying it all by myself, is she legally entitled to proceeds of the sale?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

I am afraid that you cannot simply sell the property after the divorce despite being a sole owner

Your ex will be able to make an applictaion to the family courts here in the Uk for a financial settlement securing her interests and those of the children

It is unlikely that you will be able to force a sale of the property until your youngest child is18 - and even then it is likely that your ex will be granted a share of the equity - up to 50% possibly - but it could be less.

I am sorry that I have to give you unexpectedly bad news - but It is important that you know what the situation actually is

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
What if I can't keep up with the mortgage payment as is the case now? My ex lives there but has refused to contribute towards the monthly mortgage payment and I don't earn pound . Aside the fact that my income is not stable, the exchange rate of the local currency in Nigeria (Naira) to the £ which used to be like 250 to the £ is now 500. Now I am really struggling to keep up the payment. So what do I do since I can't force sell before my youngest child is 18.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

She will have to start paying the mortgage if she wishes to remain there

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
How do i enforce that?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

AS part of the negotiations this will have to form part of the agreement

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Which agreement/negotiation are you referring to? For the ongoing divorce in Nigeria, at the last seating, she instructed her lawyers the the case should go unchallenged. That she was not contesting the divorce which I instituted on the grounds that we have irreconcilable differences and that we have lived apart for over three years.So at what point are gonna have this negotiation and agreement?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

That is up to you.

You can offer to negotiate with her using Family Mediation

www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk

Or you can wait until she makes an application to the court.

Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I can no longer afford the payment for this property. Like I intimated you. I run a contracting company in Nigeria and because of the economic downturn, for the past 18 month we have not done any contract and payments have not come in. I owed mortgage arrears from Jan to June 2016. I had to sell a plot of land to raise money to make the accrued payment and pay court cost as the property had been taken to court for repossession. I have enough from the balance to pay for another two months but what happens after that? No contracts are coming in and I don't have any more property to sell to raise money.Please advise, what do I do?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

You need to negotiate with her sooner rather than later

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
How do I do that? You said I can't sell until my son who is 16 turns 18. That will be in 2 years. And I don't have the resources to pay the mortgage for another 2 year. Please advise on what steps I should take more so that I am in Nigeria.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
More so, she wouldn't allow any one into the property for sale viewing or anything like that!
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

If you default on the mortgage she is the one who will lose out

It is up to her whether she takes over the payments - or has to leave when the property is repossessed

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
But almost always when properties are repossessed, they are sold for half the price and your outstanding with the mortgage lenders are never cleared. And you end up still owing after your house has been repossessed and sold.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

Yes - but she will lose more

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I don't think so.I will lose my share of the equity on the property maybe 60%. Which is about £60k to £90k today. And all payments I have made towards the property since 2007. She hasn't contributed a dime since all these years.That been said, I will respect and take you professional advice on this as I don't really know what to do.
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

I do understand - but she will lose her home which may make her think twice

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
what's your final answer? Ignore the mortgage payment and allow the property be repossessed?
Expert:  Clare replied 11 months ago.

No your best option is to try and arrange to discuss the situation with her using Family Mediation.

If you cannot come to the UK for that then you need to write a Without Prejudice letter to her setting out the position and confirming the financial offer that you are prepared to make.

If that fails then you can make an applictaion to the Uk court for a financial order following a foreign divorce to obtain an order for sale