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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34886
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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My sister's husband wants to leave her and sell the family

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My sister's husband wants to leave her and sell the family home (both names are ***** ***** mortgage). She is on a very low wage and they have a 13 year old daughter. He has started to become very manipulative and controlling, not giving her money for groceries and has taken away her mobile phone. He has also started to become aggressive and there is widespread pyschological abuse and a couple of incidents of and physical abuse (hair pulling etc), but the police have not yet been involved. My sister doesn't know what to do, and is very concerned about finances. What are her options/rights? She doesn't want to stay in the house with her husband? Is it ok for her to stay with family, or is it advisable that she stays in the family home?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will 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?
When was the last physical violence
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
House is worth about £350k. I believe there's only about £100k outstanding. To complicate matters, my parents helped them buy the house, providing about £70k to supplement.
How much would a two bedroom property in the same school area cost to buy?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Perhaps £250k. And apologies, in answer to your previous question, the last incidence of violence was last week- he apparently pulled her hair during an argument while he was driving- he yanked it and held her head down (so she was near his lap) and held her there for over a minute. Unfortunately my niece was in the back of the car.
What income do they each have?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My sister earns less than £6k per year, her husband is on about £60k incl overtime (may sister doesn't know, but that's a figure he has previously mentioned to my husband).
In the long term would your sister rather stay in her current home or buy a new one?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Unfortunately that's hard to say at the moment, as she's a complete wreck. I don't think she'd want to stay if he's in the house, given how vile he's being (but can't imagine he'll leave without his 'share' of the equity). Perhaps in the medium-long term she'd look to move, sorry I can' t be more definitive.
That is fine please do not worry.
The first thing to say is that if she and her daughter are not safe at home then they should move out t somewhere safe.
She can then decide if she wishes to apply for an Order forcing him to leave so that she and the child can return there or whether she would prefer to sell the house so that she can purchase another one.
The priority for the family court is is the housing need of the child - so your sister's husband will not receive his share of the equity until the child is 18 or your sister cohabits with a new partner
When he does receive it your sister is likely to get a larger share y=to reflect the investment of your parents and the fact that she has the care of the child.
Your sister is entitled to child maintenance at 12% of his Gross income, and spouse maintenance as well.
She does need to call the police if there is a further incident.
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. If she decides that she wants to move, would her husband then be entitled to his share of the equity (whatever that is)? His main driving force appears to be wanting the cash from the house. Would my sister have to stay put to prevent that? Do you think she'll be entitled to Legal Aid, as I know the govt have made the qualifying criteria much tougher. She is worried that she couldn't afford the mortgage repayments plus bills etc- or would the child maintenance plus spousal support likely cover that? And finally, he has taken her phone, because it's in 'his name', and has sold the family iPad. I believe if she were to move out, he'd no doubt start selling things off to pocket the cash. Am I correct in assuming that even if items are in his name or he paid for them, that she still owns half of everything, and therefore he is wrong in what he's doing. If that's the case, what is her recourse?
If she does decide she wishes to move she will be able to keep as much of the equity as she requires to house the child until the child is 18
You are right he has no right to dispose of any property - and it does not matter who paid for the items
If she leaves she will need to take pictures of the house and get a letter sent to him holding him financially liable for anything that is sold!
I would expect her maintenance to cover the outgoings
Legal Aid is no longer freely available - you can read more here§ionTitle=Legal+Aid
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare,
Thanks for your initial advice on the matter above. There have been several developments since Feb last year, and I now have a couple of other questions. Are you able to help? If so, please let me know how best to proceed.
It would be best to ask a new question - and ask for me in the title of the question!