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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My ex-partner is a party to a joint mortgage with me. However

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Hi. My ex-partner is a party to a joint mortgage with me. However she moved out three years ago and doesn't contribute to the mortgage any more. She has also refused me to sell the property and I can't remortgage without her consent. I have now received a court judgement for the money she owes me and wondering whether I can bankrupt her so she is forced out from the mortgage/property?
Hi, thanks for your question. I am a qualified family law solicitor.
I don't think going down that route would be the best option. I would instead suggest that you consider making an application to court to force a sale of the property. Once the property is sold you can pursue payment of the judgment debt through the proceeds of sale.
The court will need to consider the following factor's when deciding whether to agree to a sale:
- Your intentions and your ex-partner's intentions
- The purposes for which the property is held
- The welfare of any minor who occupies or might reasonably be expected to occupy any land subject to the Trust as his home
- The interests of any secured creditor or any beneficiary
Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience: Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
Harris and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your reply.
This solution would be great if I wanted to sell but I would prefer to keep this property if possible. Is there anything that can be done in such case?
Have you undertaken an affordability check of transferring the mortgage to your sole name, or remortgaging? Will you be able to afford this solely based on the mortgagee's criteria?
As part of court proceedings the court could order that your ex-partner's share be bought out by you. But obviously you would need to consider whether you are in a position to pay for her share of the equity (minus the judgment debt), but again even if a court order was granted in this respect the mortgagee may refuse to remove your ex-partner from the mortgage if you cannot afford to take it on solely.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I have previously contacted the lender and obtained their permission to transfer the mortgage to my sole name but my ex-partner refused to sign it. I have paid for the mortgage on my own for over three years, so no problem there.The judgement is for approx. £9,600. There is approx. £15,000 equity in the property which is held on a joint tenants basis therefore, her share would be approx £7,500.As I have already spent quite a lot of money on legal costs, can I represent myself in court or would I need a solicitor? Where do I start?
You can represent yourself in the proceedings, however as this could be a complicated matter it is always suggested that you have legal representation.
However, to save the time and effort of further court proceedings have you proposed buying out your ex-partner for her share of the remaining equity so that she voluntarily agrees to this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, she doesn't respond to any of phone calls etc. I would love to settle out of court but she doesn't cooperate at all. I informed her by a text message that I will proceed with an attachment of earnings application but have realised it doesn't solve the property problem. I considered the bankruptcy application because of the costs associated with it as from what I understand the Official Receiver will offer me an option to buy her share and the money I pay will eventually come back to me as I would be the creditor.
Having to go to court seems like a more pricey option that would drag for longer. Would you agree?
Yes, if you did pursue a court application regarding her share of the property this will be the pricier option and would take some time to sort out. The Official Receiver should give you the option to buy out her share and may be the best option given the circumstances.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Finally, provided I was given the option to buy her share and actually paid cash to the Official Receiver, am I likely to get any of this cash back (I understand there will be OR's costs etc.) given I am the only creditor? Many thanks.
You will be able to claim the petitioning costs from the funds gathered if your ex-partner is made bankrupt.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Excellent. Many thanks for your help.
No worries. Please do come back if you have questions in the future. You can ask me directly here:
HiPaying £1000 to enforce a debt via bankruptcy is an expensive and entirely unnecessary option to follow.First you will have the expense of serving a Statutory demand and then you will face a lengthy process. Then there is the fact that the costs of the Trustee in Bankruptcy will be the first call on her assets - so you will receive even less.Instead you can complete the forms for an Order for the Sale of the Property - details here will not be too expensive - and will resolve swiftlyIt will not mean that the property will be sold as you can "purchase" it Please ask if you need further detailsclare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Clare
Many thanks for your reply. I started reading about the bankruptcy route and it does seem very expensive indeed.
I realise that half of the equity is owned by my ex-partner and as I stated I wish to remain in the property; could I use the unpaid judgement to buy her out?
What was the money owed for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
When my ex-girlfriend was moving out, I paid her money to buy her share in the property. In return, she was required to remove herself from mortgage/property. She had never done it. I submitted a money claim for a breach of contract and recently won. This seemed as an easier option at the time and I thought she will get herself off the mortgage once judgment was awarded, but she doesn't seem to care. At this point in time she owes me approx. £9,600 whereas her equity in the property is in the region of £7,500.
I seeI wish you had asked before you did that - going straight for the TOLATA claim would have saved you time and Court fees.The fact that you have already paid her money means that you could have applied for an Order that the beneficial Interest in the property was yours alone and eventually you could have asked the Court to sign the property over to you (literally)
It is not too late to do this although your Judgement complicates the matterIt is still a possibility - with you agreeing to discharge the Judgement once the property is in your name
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I wish I knew... A solicitor advised me that this would be a way forward unfortunately.I would be more than happy to do this. I understand I need to inform the court that I agree to do this if I am successful?
Not until you are asked to do so!At this stage make the TOLATA application and go from there!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Great, will do.Finally, the property is based in Cardiff - where I live. My ex-girlfriend lives in London.Can the claim be submitted and dealt with in Cardiff or does it have to be in place closest to where she resides?
Yes you can make the claim in Cardiff!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Clare, you have been most helpful.
You are most welcome I hope all goes well