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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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I was divorced by my husband several years ago. At the time

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I was divorced by my husband several years ago. At the time my marriage was violent and abusive and I was frightened of my husband, and he was still living in our house and sleeping in our bed. I knew he was divorcing me and had signed the original paperwork that was sent to me when the divorce proceedings began.
However he subsequently said he had changed his mind and had cancelled the divorce. Then a few months later I received a letter from the solicitors I had originally consulted, advising me that I was now divorced. I didn't ever receive a decree nisi or a decree absolute. I didnt ever know when the date of the hearing was going to be. The entire thing came as a massive shock.
I think what probably happened is my ex-husband hid/destroyed them when they arrived at our house. (Even now he hasn't lived here for years, he has keys to the house and walks in and out as he pleases, looking through my received mail even now, despite me asking him not to) Consequently I didn't get any kind of official divorce settlement.
I continued to live in the house, which he bought before our marriage and which remained in his name. He paid the mortgage and sent me monthly child support as he thought appropriate.
The present position is that the youngest two boys of our three children have now started university and I understand I can live in the house until they finish full time university education.
My question is, since I didnt receive a decree nisi and didnt get a divorce settlement of any kind, what is my position regarding the sale of the house. Am I legally in a position to still be entitled to some of it? I am unable to prove I DIDNT ever receive/see the decree nisi, since I didnt receive it, and its impossible to prove a negative....will this make any difference?
Thanks, Gillian
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Do you still have the paperwork and how long ago was this?
Which part of the Uk are you in
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The only paperwork I have, or indeed ever had, is a letter from my solicitor telling me the decree absolute had gone through. This was in Jan 2000. I live in Blackpool.

Do you still have that letter and if so does it quote a Case number ***** all
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I still have the letter dated 24 Jan 2000 but it doesn't quote a case number

it says:

Re Copsey and Copsey.
We write to confirm that your decree absolute of divorce was pronounced at the Blackpool County Court on 10 January 2000. We confirm you are no longer married

How much so is the house worth and how much is outstanding on the mortgage
What other assets are there and what income do you each have?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The house is prob worth approx 150k. The mortgage was taken out 23 years ago so I suspect there is little left on it but I was never allowed to see all the paperwork so I can only guess. I earn £21K pa . My ex told my sib recently he earns £175k pa and he works off shore in the merchant navy on oil tankers and never used to pay tax on his earnings. I don't know how true that amount is

May I just check - does your ex own any other properties - and are you in a new relationship at all?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

to the best of my knowledge my ex doesnt own any other properties, he lives with someone who has a child, i believe they rent a house. I'm not in a relationship at the moment, i live with my three kids, two of whom are at uni, i've never remarried


Your starting point is to contact the Court and ask for a copy of the Decree Absolute.
Whilst you do not have the Case number ***** do have the full names and a date and that should suffice.
You will be charged for the copy - it should be no more than £10 - it should be less.
If that fails then you can use the form here to have a check made to see if there has ever been a Decree Absolute
Assuming that you are divorced it is still not too late to apply for the financial issues to be dealt with
Given he probable financial position you have a good chance of receiving the house mortgage free in full and final settlement.
Of course if you are in fact still married your claim will be higher
I hope that this of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you