How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34510
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
13262538
Type Your Law Question Here...
Clare is online now

Around 3 weeks ago, my husband of 4 years, (together for 12)

Resolved Question:

around 3 weeks ago, my husband of 4 years, (together for 12) left me alone in the marital home with little explanation, other than ‘I don’t think it’s working’. And has not returned.It was beyond obvious that he was having an affair, I’d had my suspicions for a while, but he consistently denied it.All I wanted was the truth so I would know I wasn’t crazy (he tried to gaslight me a couple of times).I knew at the point he left that I would never take him back, but he denied me proper closure for almost 3 weeks.It was hell, & I’m not exaggerating when I say, it was unnecessary mental torture, when it could have been easily avoided.We bought this house just a year ago. Well I say ‘we’; my parents alone put down the £16000 for the deposit, & he contributed nothing towards obtaining it.The mortgage is in both our names though, & we each pay half of that, & all utilities, every month into a joint account, which is only there for outgoings & is emptied as soon as it is filled.We each have our own, separate current accounts, into which our respective wages are paid into.When I finally got the truth last night, I asked him if he would possibly concede the house to me, seeing as I don’t want to sell; partly because I have nowhere else to go, as my family live 100 miles away, and partly because I want to keep the house anyway, & my job’s here.He *has* got somewhere to go, & considering *he* was the one to cheat, & he *chose* to leave the house of his own free will, I thought he might do this one last respectful thing for me.Especially since he contributed **nothing** to obtaining it, and well knows that.He said he would have to think about it, but I suspect he will fight me if he can.I have also found out since, that he is *heavily* in debt, after seeing one of his statements, (due to his gambling problem).
It is all in his own name though, that I am *positive* of, & so it’s his problem. I really don’t care anymore.He has always been crap with money, so I used to deal with most of the finances.
I have helped him out of debt too, *numerous* times over the years, so this really comes as no surprise to me at all.My main concern is the house now. What is he legally entitled to? And can he force me to sell? I want to be armed with information before we talk again.Please, please, please help me!
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 18 days ago.

Hello for clarification are there any children and will you be looking to divorce?

Expert:  Clare replied 18 days ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

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

How much is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage

What income do you each have?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
No children & we’re not getting back together so it’s definitely heading towards divorce.I’m not positive what the house is worth now, but we bought it for 154,999 one year ago.There’s approximately 136-137,000 left on the mortgage.We both earn around the same, 27-28,000 (excluding overtime etc...)
Expert:  Clare replied 18 days ago.

Was the deposit a loan or a gift?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Gift.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 17 days ago.

The court does not apportion blame when it comes to dividing the marital finances. You have been married for 4 years and the period you were together before you got married would be taken into account and hence, 12 years is a long marriage.

It appears that there is very little equity in the property other than that which was provided jointly by your parents but you do say that it was a gift and not a loan . If it was a gift to the two of you, then the £18,000 or so of equity would simply be split down the middle.

There are no children and no other assets and you both earn the same so there is no maintenance to consider.

As there are no dependent children, then the only argument is over whether he does get half of the equity, including your parents gift or whether he gets less or nothing. The argument would appear to be over the sum of about £9000 and it would be easy to gobble up far more than that in legal costs over the argument.

It would be completely different of course if the gift was not a gift but a loan and there was proof that it was a loan because then, you would be able to deduct your parents money before paying him his thousand pounds or so. Not really worth arguing over.

If the gift was made to you in isolation and the property was your first house purchase within the marriage it’s unlikely he would get 50% but he would certainly get more than the nothing he brought in to the property.

.Can I clarify anything else for you? I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Could I ‘buy him out’ so the property was then solely mine? Or would it be cheaper to just offer him some, or half, of the initial deposit? I just want him out of my life for good.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 17 days ago.

If he will not agree to sell the property then you can apply to court for it to be sold on the open market and you can agree that you buy it or alternatively, can come to an arrangement with him to buy out his share and avoid the need to go to court.

If I were advising him and you offered him £9000 to walk away, then based upon the mathematics you have given me, I would be suggesting that he would agree quickly before you had time to change your mind!

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Could I get away with offering less then? Say £5000?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
what would happen if I dragged the divorce out, how would that affect him? As I strongly doubt he’ll be able to maintain the mortgage.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Or could he force me to sell? It’s me that wants to keep it, he is edging to sell, because I think he thinks there’s profit in it. Which I doubt.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
what I meant about dragging the divorce out was, if I said I did not consent (because it’s me that’s got grounds, not him as I understand it?) could he still get a court order to compel me to sell even if we were still married? Because if not, I could just say no to the divorce & then he might agree to not going for half of my money if I agreed to divorce him. Or is that blackmail?
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot worse; but I would happily, and spitefully, remain married to him for as long as possible, if it stopped him from getting my money, bled him dry, or prevented him from remarrying for years, or all of the above!
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I also secretly audiotaped him admitting to adultery in case he tried to deny it later. However, because I didn’t have his consent, would this even be evidence of that?
Expert:  Clare replied 17 days ago.

In fact matters are not quite as clear cut as set out above,

The starting point for division os indeed 50/50 but the court has wide discretion to depart form this - although I am afraid that the fact that he has left you for another woman will not be of any relevance whatsoever

Despite the length of the marriage the fact that the deposit came by way of a gift from your parents will be seen as being relevant in terms of what the settlement should be since the gift was so recent and from your parents.

I am concerned that you do not actually know for certain how much the house is worth but assuming that it has not sky rocketed in value then an offer of £5,000 could be more than reasonable.

If you do not agree to a divorce then it would be relatively easy for your husband to try a petition based on your unreasonable behaviour (it is all too easy I am afraid) and in any event he can still call for an immediate sale even without a divorce.

It would be wiser to say that you will divorce him if he pays all the costs.

Get a valuation of the property and approach the mortgage company and check that they will release him from the mortgage.

Then offer the divorce and a settlement as part of a package - and offer £3,000 to start with

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
if we can agree together on an acceptable settlement, would that lower the divorce costs if we did not fight it out in court?My concern is that he would accept the £3000 but when I say he has to pay the costs, he wouldn’t be willing to do so.How much would the costs be if we were agreeable compared to if we weren’t?And regarding the house price, I only got confirmation of his affair last night, that’s why I’m unsure.However, there seems to be a ‘ceiling price’ on the road we live on, and I can’t see the house having gone up in value, especially since we have done nothing to it, and now it probably needs some work too.
Expert:  Clare replied 17 days ago.

There are two issues here

The divorce costs are relatively modest - the court fee is £550 and the solicitors costs should not be much more than £600 or so

On that basis id he accepts the £3000 you shoudl only ask for half of the costs - maybe the court fee - at most

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Okay, so one last question & I think you’ve sort of covered it, you pay the court fee regardless of whether you actually have to attend or not?
Expert:  Clare replied 17 days ago.

The petition fee is about the divorce itself - and that should not require any court attendance

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I’m going to get a valuation on the house on your advice as soon as I can. However, I’ve been thinking overnight & have a couple of follow-up questions.I don’t really understand what equity means. Say our house is still worth the exact amount we paid for it (154,999). The deposit of £16000 came from my parents & we pay £610 in total, on capital mortgage repayments each money.Does that mean that the equity is still just the initial deposit at present?
I know I don’t have an exact value yet, but in that scenario, is this correct?
Or is he expecting to receive his repayments back? Because surely they go to the bank to pay off the borrowed mortgage?
I’m not very clued in on these matters. Pls explain.
Also, what do u think the lowest offer would be that I could start at? If I offer to pay the costs?
Expert:  Clare replied 15 days ago.

The equity is the current value less the amount outstanding on the mortgage - and any sale costs

he does not get any repayments back

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34510
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