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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1494
Experience:  Divorce, Finances, Children, Domestic Violence, Care Proceedings
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I divorced my husband in 1997 in absentia as he ran away

Customer Question

Good morning. I divorced my husband in 1997 in absentia as he ran away abroad and severed all contacts.
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Woolwich
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I got the divorce in 1995 but we didn't have any property then and he didn't respond at that time. He begged me in 2001 and I took back in 2002 when he was released from prison in the USA ad he had no one to take him and because of our 2 boys
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: I moved to a 3 bedroom property and agreed he could buy it with me in 2003 for our children. He cheated since and never really lived with us but continued paying the mortgage only. He has now gone to court to force the sale of the house even though he never did anything for me or the children. I am confused as we didn't have this house at the time of the divorce
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 5 months ago.

Hello

Welcome to Just Answer

I am a Solicitor and will try and assist you.

Please may I ask:

- when you divorced was there any order made in relation to the matrimonial finances?

- did you remarry?

- when you bought the house in 2003 did you buy it together in joint names? if so, do you know if this was joint tenants or tenants in common?

- what doe the papers say that you have received from court - has he made a claim in relation to the matrimonial finances or is this a claim under the Trust of Land Act?

- are your children still minors? if so, how old are they now and who do they live with?

kind regards

Caroline

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
When I divorced him, it was in absentia as he did not respond and had ran off with a friend's wife. We did not have the house for any money then.No I have not remarried.
No he is doing financial order for maintenance
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We bought it together but I don't no under what basis but we took the mortgage in both our names
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
My children are 28yrs old and 25yrs and both live with me. I just turned 53yrs old. The problem is I have been paying everything else plus looked after the children until now and all he ever paid was the mortgage since 2003. He does not live at the house but with different women and comes in whenever he feels like
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 5 months ago.

Hello

Thank you for your responses.

It sounds like your ex is making a claim under the Trust of Land Act for an order that the house be sold. This is nothing to do with the fact that you were married.

If you are joint owners of the property then your ex is able to do this. You also need to know that your ex would be able to take such action even if the property was in your sole name as he has been paying the mortgage on the property.

If you have a copy of the papers from when you purchased the property it should tell you whether you bought the house as tenants in common or as joint tenants. If the house was bought as joint tenants then the legal starting point is that you are each entitled to an equal share of the equity, if you were tenants in common you will have set shares.

If in fact the house was in your sole name but he has paid the mortgage for the last 15 years then the court can still make a declaration as to his interest in the property.

You ex therefore can ask that the court considers that the house be sold so that this share in the equity can be realised.

I fully appreciate that this isnt what you want to hear but I do have to be honest with you in relation to the legal position.

I fully appreciate that you have received no child maintenance from your ex but I am also sorry to say that the court will not take this into consideration. The fact that your children are also now adults means that the court will not consider their housing needs when making the decision about whether or not the house should be sold. You also need to know that if there was no previous order made in relation to child maintenance or you have not previously had an assessment from CSA/CMS in relation to child maintenance then you cannot seek back payments for child maintenance retrospectively.

I am sorry this isn't good news for you.

It is worth considering proposing to your ex that the currently proceedings be stayed so that you can attempt mediation. Mediation is a way of trying to agree matters without the need for court, such as a payment plan to buy him out.

kind regards

Caroline

Please kindly remember to rate positively by using the stars so that credit is received for helping you today

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It is not fair as he had done nothing whatsoever for me or my children. If I had not kept the house in whilst he did nothing for us would he have had a home to come to. He never took care of me or the children and I paid everything since and still does
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 5 months ago.

Hello

I agree with you entirely but I have to tell you the law as it is. I am sorry about this. The reality is that he has been very clever in paying the mortgage instead of paying child maintenance as he has got himself a house out of it whereas if the house was just in your name and he had paid child maintenance and not the mortgage then he would not.

There is an option for you to try. You could look at making a claim in relation to the matrimonial finances as there was no previous court order in relation to the matrimonial finances when you divorced. It's not going to stop him from having a claim in relation to the property but in family cases the court can act more liberally and you may well end up with a lager share than half if he earns more than you and any other assets that he may have such as pensions can also be considered.

Normally before you can make a claim in relation to the matrimonial finances you have to refer to mediation first. It may well be that as he has already applied for an order under the Trust of Land Act that a court lets you bypass mediation but it is worth google family mediation in your area and telling the mediator the problem and asking if they will sign the form for you so that you can apply to court. The Form is the Form A and the court fee is £255.

Taking this action will not stop the current proceedings but you could ask a court to stay the matter pending the resolution of the family case, which the family case is a lot more likely to be more favourable to you.

I hope that this helps you.

kindest regards

Caroline

Please kindly remember to rate positively by using the stars so that credit is received for helping you today. Your question remains open when you leave positive feedback and I will be able to answer your follow up questions for free for you

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
We have already been booked for the first hearing and I am completing forms G and E. I am trying to reiterate the event of things and that he had never assisted or helped me in anyway and that I had always paid for everything in the family plus taken care of him.
I am just so crossed that I allowed him to get the right to buy with me as he did not have it. We had an agreement that he was asduring me buy it for the children.How do I find out the type of tenancies we have with the home. I found the transfer documents from the local authority as we bought it under right to buy but no information on there.If I had not kept or received the house, he would not have had a home to come back to. I paid a lot of money of the years to raise the children plus paid for our youngest to school I the USA when he refused to allow me take out equity.Thank you
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 5 months ago.

Hello

Thank you for your response.

Please do accept my apologies for my delay in responding to you.

You can tell from the papers when you bought the house as to whether or not you were joint tenants or tenants in common. If you dont have these then you can get a copy of the land registry title online for £3, if the house was registered and that can inidicate the position. I will get you the link and if you let me know when you have this I will tell you what to look for.

Can you just confirm for me again - what do the papers say from court - has he started a claim in relation to the matrimonial finances or a trust of land act claim?

kind regards

Caroline

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 5 months ago.

Hello

This is the link for the land registry title:

https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0C7IdFQG9k5Tz/

kind regards

Caroline

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Good evening. Thank you and I believe it is being done on finance as he wants the house to be sold and for the proceeds to be shared equally. The house was meant to be as an inheritance for the children. I am just scared that he is ripping them off.
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 5 months ago.

Hello

Thank you for your response.

It does sound like a claim under the Trust of Land Act rather than a matrimonial finances claim but if you could tell me what it says on the papers so I can make sure.

Did you manage to get a copy of the land registry title document?

kind regards

Caroline