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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I am separated from my ex wife since Dec 2011. I need advice

Customer Question

I am separated from my ex wife since Dec 2011. I need advice on a number of issues:
1. She lives in the house with her son from a previous relationship who is 16 and our 6 year old son. Until Dec 2012 I paid the full mortgage and until recently I paid half the mortgage and half of a loan attached to the house but I can no longer afford to do so. I have offered options to her such as we sell the house, she buys me out, I buy her out but she will not agree anything. She says she cannot afford to pay the mortgage and loan and is constantly harrassing me, what are my options? she wants me to hand the house over to her but I owned that house before I met her and put a deposit down of 45k. besides which if she cannot afford to pay for it, how will she supposedly do this even if I hand it over to her? she is around 30k in debt as it is, which was the primary reason for me leaving her, her constant spending and stress it put on the family. she says that she can go to court and the judge will award the hosue to her which I do not believe to be correct can you please advise?
2. We have a six year old son whom I have overnight on a mon and weds and alternate weekends. I paid £100 a month until a few weeks ago when she went to the CSA for more money and she is now harrassing me directly for money. I have told her she needs to contact the CSA now but she is now refusing me access to our son because of this and because I have stopped paying half of the mortgage. What are my legal rights regarding access to my son?
3. she has been harrassing me for months with abusive messages when I do not do what she wants me to do, she uses emotional blackmail to get her own way and uses my son as a pawn constantly. I have taken to writing to her or conversing in person and do not respond to her texts and I have been clear as to the reason why. I have another son who is 17 whom I do not have contact with but whom I pay for through the CSA and she was threatening me for weeks to tell my grown up daughters that he existed if I did not do what she wanted (my daughters knew anyway) she text my youngest pregnant daughter two days before she gave birth to tell her this 'revelation' and she is now threatening to tell my six year old son that I cannot pay for him as I have another son that I have to pay for. She uses this information as a constant threat over me. is there any legal redress concerning this behaviour towards me and my family? she is living in what was originally my house with all its belongings and I have bent over backwards.
4. I got some legal advice a while ago and was told not to get divorced until the house was sorted why is this? she has supposedy filed for divorce although I have yet to receive the papers.

thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes. Please bear with me in that case

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully.

Unless I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

How long have you been married?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

we married on the 15/10/2005

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

You have a
six-year-old son and you are both under a duty to provide a home for the child
until age to 18. In that respect therefore the judge is likely to order that
she can live in the house, if she has day-to-day care of your son, until he is

The house would
then be sold under the proceeds divided and as the house was yours before you
married, that would form the basis for the percentage split.

The judge would
not order the house sold now unless a sale would release enough money to give
you some and buy a house to provide a home for her and the child until 18.

Meanwhile, you
are not responsible for the mortgage or the bills of a house that you do not
live in and she must pay that although the lender will chase you if she does
not pay it. You are liable to pay child maintenance at the CSA rates and may
have to pay maintenance for the 16-year-old if you have treated the child as
your own and the natural father does not pay.

CSA rates of child maintenance for a non resident parent earning £200-£800
per week nett, are 12% for one child, 16%
for 2 and 19% for 3 or more children living 100% with the resident parent. That
is reduced by 1/7 for each 52 nights the child stays with the non-resident
parent. There is also a reduction in the non-resident parent is responsible for
other children. The rates increase for higher earners and decrease for low

CSA child maintenance is payable till the children reach 20 years old or leave
full-time non-advanced education. Non-advanced education is generally classed
as a level, not University, but there are some further education courses which
are not classed as advanced. Full-time courses can be as little as 12 hours per

education courses include: a degree,Diploma of Higher
Education (DHE), NVQ level 4 or above, BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC)
or Higher National Diploma (HND), teacher

'Non-advanced' education includes
the following: GCSEs, A levels

NVQ/SVQ level 1, 2 or 3, BTEC National Diploma, National Certificate and 1st
Diploma, SCE higher grade or similar

The CSA booklet is here

Which contains lots more info

on what you earn, and what she earns, there is a
possibility of a liability for spousal maintenance, maintenance paid to keep a
spouse , as opposed to children. Although most commonly paid from husband to
wife, that is not necessarily the case. Spousal maintenance is based on both
incomes, ability to earn money, previous lifestyles and most importantly, need.
It is not about equalising incomes. There is no exact formula, but these links
will give some reading..



the issue of child contact is nothing whatsoever to do
with child maintenance and whether you pay it or not. She will not be able to
stop you having contact with your child. A resident parent will not be able to avoid a
non-resident parent seeing the child and if the resident parent refuses
point-blank, the matter will end up in court. The resident parent would be
better offering some contact. They
should both try to resolve matters using family mediation

it is quicker and less confrontational than court it isnt necessarily cheaper

If this fails then the non-resident parent being denied
contact can then apply to the court for a defined contact order which will
formalise arrangements.

The necessary forms are available on the here .

Does that answer your questions?

I am happy to
follow up any individual point you make

I am online and
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back to you within nanoseconds.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

hi, thank you for the information so far.


You don't seem to have answered my questions 3 and 4?


I am happy for her to live in the house until my son is 18 no problem at all but she is harrassing me to make some decision about the house now and basically is pressuring me to sign it over to her and has said that the judge will hand it over to her if she goes to court because I am not paying half of the mortgage or half of the joint secured loan is that correct? I don't want to pay for the house if I am not living there plus I cannot afford it anyway, should her boyfriend not be paying the half if he is living there? could I charge him rent? I don't want to lose any interest I have in the house though! am I entitled to get any belongings from the house as she refuses point blank for me to have anything!!


a solicitor told me a while ago not to get divorced until the house was sorted but if this is the case I could be married a long time!!


I went round tonight to collect my son and got him no problem so hopefully that was just one of her threats re no access, she does that a lot!


her son is working and has contact with his biological father so I am not responsible for him or for paying her as she earns a lot more than me anyway.


thank you very much

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
I suggest that you get a defined contact order from court so that she cant hold these contact threats over you any more.
You can do that at mediation.
If the constant threats are a problem you can get a court order to stop them.
re: The house. the judge will say now what happens to it when the child is 18. She is kidding herself if she thinks that she will get it all now based on these facts.
Try to sort belongings between you as arguing in court will costs many times more than they are worth.
It is the marital home and unless there is a court order excludng you, you can come and go as you like.
Dont agree to decree absolute until finances are sorted. it gives you a lever.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

great thanks. Just one last point, when I first bought the house I put down 45k as a deposit from my last house and I paid the mortgage and was in my name for three years. Then we got married and decided to take some money out of the house for refurbishment etc and we took out a joint mortgage as I couldn't afford the increased mortgage by myself. I remember being in the solicitors office and she asked me if I wanted to protect my original investment ie the 45k just for me and my wife was sat next to me so I was inbetween the devil and the deep blue sea in hindsight as she didn't utter a word and so I obviously said no we're married now etc etc so did I waver my right at that point to have more interest in the house than her?


Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
it is debatable how enforceable those kind of prenuptial agreements are. An agreement made after marriage is more reliable. People will agree to allsorts in the throws of rose tinted specs pre-marraige.
Your initial input is almost certainly not ringfenced now depending on how long you have been together incl pre marraige.
How long have you been together for in total incl pre marriage? More than 10 years, yr initial input will have been absorbed into the marital assets.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thank you, apologies taken so long to reply but I have been on holiday, I have received divorce papers based upon unreasonable behaviour, not withstanding the contents are a joke I do not want to sign or agree to a divorce until something is sorted with the house as I was previously advised, is there anything I can do? it also says on the form that she is seeking a financial order for maintenance, periodical payments order, secured provision order, lump sum order, property adjustment order and pension sharing i dont understand what the majority of these mean and will she be entitled to claim against my army pension even though I had left before I met her? If I ignore the divorce petition can she get divorced anyway? it also states that the respondent will be ordered to pay the costs of the application why is this?? thank you

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
It is standard procedire to tick all the fiabcial order boxes if a house and children are involved.
Basically she wants maintenance for her and children and share of property.
Dont worry about what she put as unreasoable behaviour, it makes no difference to the financial settement
Dont agree to divorce decree absolute until finances are sorted and sealed into an order by the court.

Please don't forget to positively rate
my answer service (even if it was not what you want to hear). If you don't rate
it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0 for my time. It is
imperative that you give my answer a positive rating.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

what will happen if I do nothing? can she claim against my army pension of fifteen years even though I had left before I met her?

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
She can claim agianst yr personal assets including pension accrued during marriage
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

what happens if I do not sign divorce papers or ignore them? can she get divorced without my involvement? thats all I need to know, thank you