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Harris, Law Specialist
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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My daughter`s husband has run up huge debts. He currently in

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My daughter`s husband has run up huge debts. He currently in an IVA and has just completed 3 years. Their house in in joint names. My daughter would like to sell the house and go for a separation and thus regain her financial independence and stop continually paying for his mistakes. Her husband thinks otherwise. She would like to know what are her rights. Can she insist rhat the house is sold?

Hi, thank you for your question. Just a bit more information required to fully assist you:
-How old are they both?
-How long have you they married?
-Do they have any children together, if so their ages and proposed arrangements?
-What assets, properties and pensions do they both have (both sole and joint), together with values?
-What are their respective incomes?
-What are the terms of the IVA?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. Both early fifties 2. 17 years
3.No children 4. Main asset is the house. Don`t know pension details. Believe them to be separate.
5. Both earn about £40,000 a year
6. The IVA is for an initial 5 years. 3 yrs completed. Monthly payment is £1400 I believe. House sale would no doubt need IVA approval.

How much is the home worth and what is the outstanding mortgage?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Apologies fo delay,I was waiting for the figures. The house is worth £400,000 approx. The outstanding mortgage is £187,000.
Two other points may be relevant. 1. This is the 2nd home they bought. To buy their 1st house our daughter sold hers and was able to put down a deposit of £14,000. Her husband's contribution if anything was very small. 2. Before going into the IVA her husband took approximately £40,000 out of the equity of the present house, certainly no less, to pay his debts. Hopefully at some stage these figures should be taken into account. With many thanks.

What were ts husband's debts in relation to?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The husbands debts were business ones. He is a solicitor and set up a law firm 9 years ago. It never showed a profit. He is no longer in business.

Thank you for confirming and apologies for the delay in reverting. Was your daughter working and providing for the family during the last 9 years or was the matrimonial income solely from his business?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My apologies now for late reply. Router trouble!
She was working full time. She had no choice. On reflection concerning the debts further information may be helpful.
From the start of the business he opened three offices and employed five staff. Not surprisingly he ran up considerable debts fairly soon, especially with our daughter. All her savings, over £13,000 and £10,000 on credit cards in her name. And with us, well over £40,000. We of course cannot be included in the IVA monthly repayments

Did the husband also provide for the family outgoings from his income from the business?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Just been waiting for a response to your last question from my daughter. Sorry she cannot be more precise but yes he was contributing to the family outgoings. Contributing rather than total provision.

Thanks for confirming. However, the news is not going to be great for her. Given that they have been married for 17 years, a court will consider this a long marriage and will want their to be equality in division of assets which will only likely be departed from if there are extreme circumstances or if one of their needs is much greater than the other. A court will consider all these contributions and likely agree that it was a matrimonial expense and decision for these debts to be accumulated and will have a starting point of a 50-50 split and share of all assets and liabilities and ensuring that both their needs are met in relation to both assets and income. The criteria considered is:

1. The income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including in the case of earning capacity any increase in that capacity which it would in the opinion of the court be reasonable to expect a party to the marriage to take steps to acquire;
2. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
3. The standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
4. The age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
5. Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties to the marriage;
6. The contributions which each of the parties has made or is likely in the foreseeable future to make to the welfare of the family, including any contribution by looking after the home or caring for the family;
7. The conduct of each of the parties, if that conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it;
8. In the case of proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to each of the parties to the marriage of any benefit which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

If you have any further questions regarding this please let me know. In the meantime if you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating using the stars at the top of this page. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the helpful summary. As you say not brilliant news for our daughter. Could you just add a further comment concerning the sale of the house please. Can she insist on this? Just at the moment I won`t go for further Q and A time. Inadvertantly I clicked to take out membership. I shall cancel this for the time being, it may be required later on.

If he is able to fund an equal settlement buy buying out her share of the property or a fair lump sum, then the property may not need to be sold and can transfer to him - but again he will need to be able to pay her a fair share arising out of the marriage. If he cannot do this then she has good grounds to pursue an order for sale.