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Hello for clarification - who are you divorced from?
how many children do you have?
how long have you been together in the property?
You may not have a legal interest in the property(not on deeds) but you almost certainly have a financial (equitable) interest in the property by virtue of the payments you have made and the improvements you have made. Improvements are easy to quantify by looking at the value of the property before and after mortgage capital repayment contributions somewhat more difficult to quantify.
It depends however what the payments were in respect of because you have also had the benefit of living in the property and 40 payments over 17 years (204 months) is not a fantastic amount of payment BUT you do say however that you have always paid the mortgage so I assume that you were paying her before that in cash and that you would have some proof of the cash coming out of the bank otherwise if your word against anyone else’s that you paid that.
Your children have told you that you can stay in the property but it appears the problem you are having is that you have to pay rent. What you need to do is offset that against the possibility of them getting you out of the house and you only claiming a proportion of the value of the property and having an argument over it at that.
You haven’t actually asked a question so I don’t know what it is that you want to know. I’m happy to answer any specific questions you have.