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UKfamsol, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 560
Experience:  Very experienced specialist family law solicitor, qualifed in 1994
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I am not sure how much information you require to go with my

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I am not sure how much information you require to go with my question. . . so I apologise for giving it all. My husband and I were divorced over a year ago, but are still co-habiting. I am not the joint owner of the property, but I sold my house to move in and contributed to house renovations, bills and day to day family life and holidays. We have been living together for 19 years, but were only married for 4. There are reasons for the divorce which I do not wish to go right now. However, the divorce was amicable, but financial arrangements for us were not included. (They were for our son.) Our reasoning being that nothing would change until our Son had finished his A-Levels this year. Our situation has gradually become strained and I am now concerned that my / our naivety is going to leave me with very little. I would like to know where I stand as far as the property is concerned if things turned nasty and/or one of us moved out? Although the mortgage is now paid, neither of us could up-keep the house on our own. Even though I work full time, my ex husband now does not. I look forward to your reply. Regards. LH

Hello and thanks for your question.

I understand you to say that you have been living together for 19 years, you got married in 2010, and divorced in 2014, and you continue to live together. The house is mortgage-free and in the sole name of your ex-husband, but you sold your house in order to move in & contributed to renovations & bills & fmaily life etc during the years you were together.Your son will finish his A levels this year, at which point, it may be that your relationship will end.

I need a bit more info to be able to answer:

You refer to financial arrangments being made on divorce - were these agreed just between the two of you, verbally or in writing? Or was it an agreement reached viia solciitors?And if so, was a consent order made by the court?

What exactly was the agreement reached?

What is the house worth now (approximately)?

What is your annual salary?

What is your ex-husband's annual salary?

What would a small 3 bed or 2 bed hous or flat in the local area cost?

I forgot to ask if there are any other assets apart from the house, and if there are any debts?

Also, what arrangements for your son have been made if he intendsto go onto college or university rather than start working when he leaves school?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi. We got married end of 2009 and the decree absolute came through beginning of 2014.

Other assets are our two cars and house contents. There are no debts.

Financial agreement was made for our Son only and written into the divorce papers.

1. The house is approximately £200,000

(though I have not checked recent sales in the local area)

2. My annual salary is approximately £26,000

3. He does not have a salary. He only last month took redundancy.

It was a substantial amount, but I do not know how much.

4. Depending on property, possibly, £100,000 - £180,000

If our Son goes to university, he will apply for a loan for the course. My ex husband has verbally said whilst our Son is in full time education, he has to pay. It does appear, however, that our Son is leaning more towards an apprenticeship route.

Thanks - sorry but I need a bit more information. What exactly was the financial arrangement for your son, and what do you mean when you say it was written into the divorce papers? Could you possibly upload the document that sets out this financial arrangement? (The admin here will explain how to do this).

What is your ex's income? what is he living on?

Can you give even a ball-park figure for your ex's redundancy payment?

Did you have your own independent legal advice from your own solicitor?

(I will explain later why these qs ...)

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The financial arrangement put into the Statement of Arrangements for Children (D8A) that the Respondent (my husband) shall pay £500 per calendar month.

He is living on his redundancy and I am sorry, I cannot even guess what it was, but he did say that if no work came his way, he would be okay for 12 months.

No legal advice was sought. I, with help from my husband, dealt with the divorce. As I said initially, it was amicable.

Ok thanks for the extra info & sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I wanted to check if you had a court order dealing with the house and the finances generally, but from what you say, I am pretty sure you don't. That helps you now, because if you did have one, then it would have stated that you could not make any further claim against your ex in relation to your marriage.

That means that you CAN now apply for a court order to decide how the assets of the marriage should be divided between you if you & your ex cannot reach agreement.

The court starts from the position that the assets should be divided 50:50, and then looks at reasons why that should not be the case eg if one party is to provide a home for dependent children and/or one party has a significantly lower income than the other.

I am guessing that your husband's redundancy pay is at least £30,000, and that if he finds work, his income will be similar to yours or perhaps a bit higher? say around £30,000?

Your son will soon be earning something but not much as an apprentice, and I'm guesssing that he will still need to live with one of you.

As you each have a car, I'm going to ignore those as they cancel each other out. The division of the house contents is not usually decided by the court (just agreed by negotiation who is to get what) unless there are any particular items of particular value - so the only matrimonial asset is the mortgage-free house worth £200,000. It's irrelevant that it is in your ex's sole name - you still have a claim on it as an ex-spouse.

If you decide to separate, the ideal scenario which would cause the least disruption for your son, would be for one of you to move out of the house and the other person to stay in the house with your son. However, for that to happen, the person who stays in the house would need to buy out the other person's interest, in return for having the house out into their sole name.

If this was you, and if your income is slightly lower than your husband, then you can argue for 55% or 60% of the assets (but very unlikely that the court would agree to be more than that), so best case outcome is 60% x £200,000 = £120,000. This means that your ex's share of the house would be £80,000, so you would need to pay him £80,000 to get the house in your name. BUT your mortgage capcacity is only 3 x £26,000 = £78,000 , so the question is would your ex accept ( or the court order that he have) £78,000 to be bought out of the house. That may depend on how soon he finds other work what his salary in his new job is, and the amount of his redundancy payment.

On the other hand, if HE stays in the house with your son, the he has an argument that you shuld get LESS than 60% because now HE is providing a home for your son, but you still have a lower income, and he still has his redundancy payment, so perhaps your share then is 55% x £200,000 = £110,00. This combined with your mortgage capcaity of £78,000 would allow you to buy a house or flat for £188,000.

The third alternative is that the house is sold, and the proceeds split eg either 50:50, or 60:40, or 45:55 - but whatever you agree, the conveyancer needs to know BEFORE the net sale proceeds are divided.

If you can reach agreement, then that agreement can be made legally binding by a solicitor drawing it up into a draft consent order which you both sign and which is sent to court for the court's approval. Once approved by the court, it is as binding as an order made at the end of a contested court case, without the need to attend court at all.

You can negotiate either between yourselves, or via solicitors' correspondence or via mediation. The family court anyway now requires the parties to have attempted mediation before it will consider an application to court. Here's where to find a family mediator near you:

Reaching agreemnet is preferable as going to court is stressful, time-consuming and very expensive, so to be considered only as a last resort - unless there's a risk he will sell the house without being prepared to negotiate - see below.

I think at this stage you want to consider all the options, and decide what YOU would like to happen, before you start negotiating. Have a look in estate agents'windows and/or look at Zoopla to get an idea of what local properties are priced at.

Have a word with an independent mortgage broker to see what your mortgage capacity is.

If the case goes to court or you go to mediation (which I recommend) both of you will be expected to give full financial disclosure to the other- and that will include each of your mortgage capacity, and details of his redundancy paymnet and what you each have in bank & building soicety accounts & pensions etc. Don't agree to anything until you are sure that you have the full picture about his finances.

The house is a matrimonial asset because it was the family home while you were married, and there has been no court order dealing with the assets of the marriage. However, the property is in your ex's sole name, which means that at the moment, he is able to sell the property without your knowledge or consent. If you were still married, you could register a matrimonial home rights notice against the property at the Land Registry, which would alert a potential buyer to a matrimonial dispute, and put them off going ahead with a purchase. But you are divorced, so that is not open to you. If there was a real risk that your ex WOULD try to sell the house quickly, before you had either negotiated a settlement or obtained a court order, you would need to make an urgent application to court, and then register a Notice (of a pending land action) at the Land Registry - which would have the same effect of putting off potential buyers.

I think you would benefit from some face-to-face legal advice from a specialist family law solicitor. Here's where to find one near you:

Lots to think about!

I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks and best wishes...
UKfamsol and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for all of your help. I will consider all the information you have provided. Fingers crossed now that the recent strains are only temporary and do not develop into a situation where we cannot be as amicable for a agreed financial settlement.

Regards. LH