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Hi, thank you for your message. I am sorry to hear about your situation.
1)You may qualify for legal aid if you have low income and want to take the case to court. You can check if you can get legal aid here: https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid. You can find a legal aid solicitor by using this link: https://find-legal-advice.justice.gov.uk/
2) You might be able to find a pro bono lawyer by attending a LawWorks Clinic. The LawWorks Clinics Network is a network of free legal advice sessions that LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) supports. For more information and to find a network near you please visit the following website: https://www.lawworks.org.uk/legal-advice-individuals/find-legal-advice-clinic-near-you
Normally when you separate you have a right to a share of the property. The starting point is a 50/50 split but will depend on each of your circumstances. Ultimately it will be for the courts to decide the outcome looking at fairness. As you have stated that he has not contributed towards the mortgage for 17 years this is something that the courts may take into consideration. I would advise that you gather evidence such as statements showing that you have been making the full payments on your own. You should also instruct a solicitor using the links I have shared under points 1 and 2 above. I hope this helps.